Let us say , you woke up in the middle of the night - in a room with all the windows closed . And no watches or cell phones. You might wonder how is it outside ? Day or night ? The room has hidden the reality outside from you. As long as something is hidden , there needs to be a place for speculation or guesstimate. This place is called "doubt" -
Sanshya. Think of doubt as an expression stored in a memory location. We can speculate infinite doubts but we don't. We have doubts when we are aware that something exists in "reality" but we are not sure of the shape or texture or the nature of the real.
Our ability to rationalize different possibilities is what we know as "Reason". With reason we comprehend the shape of "real" and match them to the "real". We are very good at it in the sense we discard most of the fluff. With somewhat developed reasoning, we can come pretty close. Still, we only have a place holder till we act to reconcile the "real" with the placeholder in our mind. Thus with perfect "reason", the best we can have is pair - one that is "Real" and second what we think as "Real". This is the basis of all "Duality". We can not overcome duality till we act and reconcile. Thus "Action" is the easiest way to dispel duality. What if there is no known action to dispel the duality ? This is the basis of all quest - scientific and exploratory. We just want to know what is real. And what if there is no righteous action plan to find the real ? This is source of everlasting pain. In a way- duality keeps us actively engaged with the real even if there is no way to ascertain the "real".
What we know as "Real" is called
Sthoola - the physical world and what we perceive or speculate is called
Sookshma - the meta physical. No I am not indulging you into the Metaphysics of Philosophy; this is just a plain fact. The "real" observed by our senses and the perceptions that we carry in our mind are two different things. We know it from our experience. What we miss out though is that this duality manifests into every thing we see in the physical world as well as whatever we consider in the meta physical sense. The "left" and the "right"; the day and the night; male and female; are some of the examples from the physical world. Same is true about our perceptions - good or bad; beautiful or ugly; pain or happiness - all these are the constructs of duality.
Sanshay is not limited to "two", though that is what commonly appears to be the case. Doubts can have infinite shapes or variations and they are all valid till we apply the "reason" to focus on most probable and act to reconcile. The notable thing is it is possible to stay alive without doubts or reason. Duality is not a mandatory pre requisite for the life to happen. In fact, most of the life springs from the single cellular beings without any duality but it is our ability to imagine that makes our life richly complex but we digressed .. Let us get back to our reality .
Continuing with our example , "Real" is what exists outside the room. It is hidden to our senses as long as we are confined to our window less room but we know for sure that something exists outside - darkness of the night or broad day light. Our room is not the entire universe. There has to be something beyond the four walls and the roof. What if "something" is hidden in plain sight. They say the best way to hide is to a be part of the crowd. Subtle and unnoticeable. What if "Truth" is so subtle that our senses just ignore it as "unimportant" from survival standpoint. This state of ignorance, where we don't even know of the possibility of something potent is called -
Supta - The sleeping state. In other words such a conscious person , though conscious , she is in sleeping state.
As long as we are involved in actions to match the doubts with our physical "reality", our intelligence is active but unaware of the truth. As soon as the match happens, we get a jolt of happiness or pain based on our expectations. That is all we do most of our time here on this planet. We keep on squishing our doubts. For a rational being , the expectations are same as the most probable (or reasonable) doubt. We kill one doubt and then move on the next . In the process , we can claim to know a thing (or two) but the moment our intelligence breaks free from such actions, all the doubts - noticed or subtle - are available to it to engage. Thus it is necessary to design our next action plan carefully and this is the place where Matrix can sabotage the intelligence. Thus
Karm Yoga suggests to limit this window of opportunity for the matrix. Do not procrastinate -
DeerghSootri for the doubts love procrastinators. In fact , duality is the breeding ground for matrix. This is not to say that we should give up "reason". We need to use "reason" to design our entire day as one big
Yajna to keep both duality and matrix at a bay. We can always stay involved in righteous actions. In such a state we are not even craving for the knowledge. Gita says this is the perfect state of
Anasakti. Such a person is called
Gunateeta or the one who is beyond the three fangs of matrix -
Sattva, Rajsa and Tamsa. For such a person "Actions" are easy and desires don't even crop up - which is quite a different situation v/s weeding the desires out. This is the state of awakening of the conscious agent. Thus consciousness too has two states - sleeping and awakened. Even here we can't get rid or duality :-)
You might ask , why all this grind ? If the knowledge is creator of everything, why create sleeping conscious agents ? Why create duality ? This is difficult to understand with our linear thinking. We will discuss this in more in Eons and Time but suffice to know here that even "knowledge" needs duality to explore itself. Even "Knowledge" is unaware of itself. For example you don't know what you can do till you actually try to do it. In a way "Krishna" needs "Arjuna" as much as "Arjuna" needs "Krishna". In a way, this is the design of this beautiful game. Awakened needs to sleep and sleeping needs to awaken to know the "Truth". Peace is in knowing this and being at ease with this cycle. You are in the sleep cycle so Gita is there to awaken you , when you are awakened and realized the truth there will be something else to put you back in the sleep. This however doesn't mean you should continue your sleep. In fact even that is beyond you. The craving to awaken is as much as the craving to sleep. The knowledge of the rules of the game just make you a better player and one who can take a time out till she is ready to play again. In all , this is a fun game. The one that is exponentially more engrossing than anything you can get at Vegas. In fact , Krishna explains the rules of this game in chapter 13 - the Khestra and the khshetrgya - The field and the player. Worth a read if you can get your hands on Gita. Just to give you a sample, he says in 13.30
When a man sees that the infinity of various beings is abiding in the ONE and is an evolution from the ONE, then he becomes one with
Bramha means entirety of our physical and meta physical being. For such a person, entire universe exists in their "room" and the "room" itself is the entire expanse. They do what they are supposed to do without duality, distractions, expectations and the bugs of the matrix with same passion and excitement as a child plays the game of soccer - for the game , not for the trophies.
In contrast to common perception of "faith" Gita doesn't volunteer you to believe in Gods or demi Gods. This is a strange coincidence coming from Hindu belief system which is considered land of thousands of deities if not millions. But Gita values faith at the highest order. How is it so ? Gita asks you to have and build faith in yourself. Have faith in your own
Atma which is a copy of
Avyakta knowledge with in you but the way it describes to build faith in
Atma is not by way of worship. It instead asks you to believe in actions such that actions are the only way to unlock this knowledge. Righteous actions done as a ritual. In a way, it asks you to give yourself a chance. Not be swayed in the rat race . Instead build a solid practice of
Karma and Yajna to build Internal strength
Aatmik Shakti. Once you realize your
Aatmik Shakti ; for example you see that you can code or sing or play - it further propels you to adopt
Karm Yoga in every aspect of your life to gradually cumulate what it calls
Daivy Sampad. Even then it suggests to keep your Godly skills to yourself for you are not free from powers of matrix till you become one with the Knowledge. In the process, having faith in what you do and what you are is of immense importance and it is based on experience and reason.
Faith is NOT opposite of reason. In fact reason leads to Faith. It is another way to dispel the duality. Thus actions under a faith driven system of work are less taxing because we don't need to drain our intelligence to build an action plan. In a way, it also means that there is no window of opportunity for the matrix and desires to creep back in. Krishna says,
Nishkaam Karm Yogais easily accessible to one who believes in it.
A common question that bugs at this stage "what is the righteous action" and most common way "duality" attacks a
Karm Yogi is if I am on the right path. The answer is very simple. Your righteous actions are what you are expected to do by the people around you. If you are a coder , you are supposed to code well. If you are singer, you need to attain perfection in singing. If you are a player , you need to improve your game. The focus of a
Karm Yogi is never on the rewards of the labour. It is on hitting the daily routine. There are no coffee or smoking breaks for the
Karm Yogi. There are no corridor conversations. You might say what about creativity ? Creativity is in the actions not in conversations. This doesn't mean a
Karm Yogi doesn't spend time on thinking.
Dhyana - Manan and Chintan must be part of daily routine to reflect on what you are doing and how to improve the ritual. Not from rewards standpoint but for improving the craft. Such a
Karm Yogi , always dedicated to her righteous actions, always content in her work and always eager to improve her routine is loved by all around them and are highly effective and creative. As such they cross the bounds of duality and see the truth hidden in the plain sight inaccessible to people imagining doubts and chasing expectations . For a
Karm Yogi , the difference between
Sthoola and Sookshma is always already bridged by the intensity of their righteous actions.
If a manifestation inspires you , you know that manifestation is the final iteration of the
Yajna. You may recall from previous chapters that manifestation itself is information. Information, by design, is something that can be "informed" to the senses. Which means, the broader aspect of knowledge is always hidden (encrypted) in the manifestations. Which means there is always room for speculation and there is a "journey of actions" to reconcile our perceived reality with the underlying knowledge. Since every manifestation has a full copy of knowledge, you can start the journey from anywhere. You can focus on the breeze , the flowing river , the operating system , the app , the smart phone , the dog. Only thing you should not focus on is a "Cat". Because cats are Cats :-) . You get the point - Actions are the only way to dispel the "Doubt" though "faith" makes it easy. It is immaterial if you are building next "Google" or you are mopping the floors. The nature of work is trivial v/s the work itself. So you can set aside at least one doubt - what should I do ? You can do anything - meditation , pranayama , coding , serving - it is the actions that will break you to the "Knowledge" if that is what you are seeking. Consistent actions - without letting the desires open another can of worms - another layer of doubts. As you engage in actions , you basically go beyond the "information", you go beyond what senses can feel. You enter the realm of "Truth". Staying in this new "realm" is
Karm Yoga. This is a place where you are without doubts , always engaged with "Truth". But it is a journey. Desires keep coming back and raise the doubts again. You actively identify them and nip them back. Gradually you develop the ability to stay without doubt till you reach a point beyond "duality".
Doubt is inbuilt into every observation (of a manifestation) simply because our senses can't consume the knowledge. Thus we must create a placeholder for the knowledge. A version that we think is the closest representation of the Truth. But that is just the beginning. We then need to create an action plan and indulge in "Actions" as a ritual. And then wait for the "Truth" to grow from a seed to a massive tree. It does. Once you trigger it, it is chain reaction. New branches show up. It starts driving further actions. New leafs , new flowers and new fruits of
Inspiration, however, is a double edged sword. You need to be sure that the inspiration is NOT caused by the desires. Just like removing fickleness is essential to stabilize the mind, appreciation and careful analysis of the "doubts" (in relation to the inspirations) is a requirement for stabilising the intelligence. In fact,
Yajna is nothing but a trial and error of various doubts selected upon careful reasoning. Let us go back to the baseball - you think you can hit the ball for a home run if you shifted your weight to the front foot while taking a wild swing . You must dispel all the doubts on this strategy. That is the only way to make yourself do it wholeheartedly. Afterwards you may find that it didn't work. And then you choose the next strategy. And so on with the next and the next practice scenario till you actually hit the homerun. And even then you need to repeat it many times over to make sure all the remaining doubts are set aside. Even Truth needs to be practiced ! And that is how you attain the "faith" in yourself.
Faith is NOT a miracle. It is hard work.
As we discussed above, we hold perceptions that we can notice and even more that are subtle - hidden to our senses. For intelligence, these perceptions are a superset of all the actions we can take. The perceptions that we can notice are obviously the first one that we first want to test with actions. Thus our actions are part of a pattern. We identify with this pattern. We are different from dogs, because our repertoire of actions , as a human, are quite different from the dogs. But are all humans same ?
If I can do things similar to you, I can compete with you. I obviously can't compete with Bill Gates. Thus with in humans, there are classes and sub classes . We compete only in our races. If you are singer, you try to be the best singer - better than others who sing. Even with in that , you compete as a pro or an amateur.
Our Identity is the race we compete in. Or with others who have similar action rituals. These races appear broad but as we grow in actions , these become finer and finer. For example, if you are a writer , you might compete as a blogger with others but you won't care about the ones who write long books. If you are you tuber , you wont compete with Netflix.
As our actions become more finely ingrained, we create our own identity. A unique identity such that we are competing with only ourselves. In a way you are beyond competition -
Spriha. This stage can is reached only through rigor or actions and faith.
Thus we are NOT humans or animals - we are what we do. All other name sake ids - such as son , father , husband, American or Russian , Black or White , Man or Woman - become insignificant once we find our own Identity. But Id comes with another trait -
Ahamkararises out of the notion that you are better than the competitors. It reaches the peak when you are able to build your own ID because this is where you are competing to better a version of yourself. You are the king of this narrow streak because no one else does what you do. It is very easy to lose sight on the rigor of your rituals when you reach this stage.
Ahmkarain a way is extreme opposite of duality. While duality shakes your confidence,
Ahmkararepresents extreme case of over confidence. Particularly when this overconfidence flows into every aspect of your life. A
Karm Yogithus must always stay humble - visually as well as internally.
By design we reason first (and most) the extreme situations because such doubts are even easier to comprehend. They are easy placeholders and our focus always shifts to extremes. We wonder about the "Big Bang" and "Big End" . Even in a family the focus is either on the "Youngest" or on the "Oldest". They are the most talked about people. We honour extreme examples of courage and we despise extreme cases of cowardice. Our entire "news" cycle in main and alternative media focuses on the extremes because those stories are sensational. No one ever discusses the daily rigor of growing a kitchen garden :-)
Fear is generated from such unresolved doubts that are generally extreme and least probable but are detrimental to our Identity . ID is the thing you are fighting to keep alive. Survival is all about the ID. Lets say you are a Billionaire, you very well know you can live well without more dollars. But you can't stop. Because what you are striving is not your life, most of your work (actions) are to grow to the top of "the richest" list. Your dietician and fitness trainer and doctors struggle to keep you alive. You only care about more $$s. Because you fear losing your coveted status as number one in that list.
Once fear kicks in, it is almost impossible to go beyond our ID.
Fear is the jail. Once caught, our focus can't get to the Truth of the situation.
Hath Yoga may seem empirical but it is a useful tool to explain the nature of our reality to one who believes in it. I am not a practitioner but I just marvel at the extensive thinking that must have gone into it. Someone really thought through the entire scheme before coming out with this model.
If you see fig 3 in last chapter,
Kundalini represents intelligence and it lies folded (like a snake) in the
Mooldhara Chakra. That is where all the
Samskara - The basic values , stay dormant. Thus intelligence can easily decrypt the basics to give you what we call your
Svabhava - your nature. In normal person, it rises to next
Chakra by adolescence . The puberty and setting up the sexual desires. Taking the
Kundalini above the second
Chakra is difficult. For most people
Kundalini stays in bottom two
As a representation of duality ,
Bindu - The focus ( doubtless state) resides in the top
Bindu is the kind of a spotlight that naturally follows the observation. In a way, in most of us, the focus follows the Kundalini in lower two chakras. This means we are devoid of unfolding the higher order
Vrittis such as compassion, craving for the knowledge. We are always subsumed in the consumption, procreation and pleasures. In essence we resolve the duality of lower order
vrittis by bringing our intelligence and focus to the bottom two
The goal of
Hathyoga is to bring the focus and intelligence to the upper
Chakras. We can do it either by forcefully holding our focus on the higher
Chakras or forcing our Intelligence upwards. As per
Hathyoga Pradeepika - the 101 of
Tantra, of these two paths, in the early part of the life, intelligence is too occupied in decrypting the basic values that trying to take it to the top
Chakra is futile. Thus, during this time, the focus falls to
Manipura - the third Chakra from bottom and burns in digestion which means we are too much focused on food. The leftover focus goes down to
Swadhisthana the second
Chakra which means intense focus procreation. Thus the book suggests to forcefully hold the focus in higher
Chakras in early parts of the life. It suggests various
Mantras for accomplishing this.
If you fail to hold the focus in head in the first part of life then the second option for you (in later part of the life) is to raise the
Kundalini - the intelligence to the top. Having developed your intellect, later part of the life is best suited for this endeavour. Again ,
Pradeepika provides many
Mantras for this. The ultimate goal is to get knowledge and intelligence together situated in the head to end the "Duality" of higher order
vrittis. For example creativity and self expression is associated with the "throat Chakra". Our creative forces and self expression stays misplaced (duality unresolved) till we bring our focus and intelligence to this chakra. For some people it is a natural phenomenon, but for the rest, this remains in locked state leading to despair. For the later,
Hath Yoga presents an organized path to unlock this. Kundalini is said to raised to throat chakra when we set aside all the doubts on how we are want to express ourselves to the world.