A lecture at a Session of the University of Life Ethics
“About Meditation” by T.N. Mickushina, Part 2
March 27, 2015
1. The system of division of society in the Vedic culture (by Lahiri Mahasaya).
2. The origin of Yoga. The concept of Yoga as a science.
3. The eight steps of Yoga (by Maharishi Patanjali).
1. The system of division of society in the Vedic Culture (by Lahiri Mahasaya)
Now we will turn to the famous Indian Yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya (1828-1895). He lived in the 19th century in Northern India.
There is only one picture of him in his lifetime. Many times there were attempts to make photographs of him, but each time the film was developed, all the students were there in the photograph, but Lahiri Mahasaya was not visible. One photographer came to him and begged to let him make at least one picture of the Guru. He relented and allowed the photographer to make a picture of him.
There is a book Lahiri Mahasay (The Polestar of Kriya) by Swami Satyeswarananda Giri. I recommend you read it.
Let us look how society in India is divided. In India society is divided into four classes.
FOUR CLASSES OF PEOPLE
· The highest class is the Brahmins. It is the class of priests, whose duties consist in maintaining a religious cult.
· The next lower class is the Kshatriyas. The Kshatriyas is a class of warriors, whose job is to govern the country and to defend it from enemies.
· An even lower class is the Vaishyas. They are merchants or traders who do business in order to ensure the economic stability of the state.
· And the lowest class is the Sudras. This is the class of agricultural workers who grow edible grains and serve the three higher classes.
Lahiri Mahasaya was a Brahmin. When he saw how wrong this system was functioning in society of the 19th century, leading in fact to the lack of spirituality in all classes, he gave his comments and his interpretation of the system. Since Lahiri Mahasaya was a great Yogi, he was receiving his knowledge by connecting to another level of consciousness. He was not getting it on the earth level. By connecting to a Higher level, he could see how these four classes of society really existed at that time, when they were first established. This was the system of division of society in the Vedic culture. And how did he interpret it?
A Brahmin is the one who is integrated with the Higher Self. In other words, the one who attains Brahma, the Higher Self, is a Brahmin. That is the kind of a person who is always integrated with God, in a state of oneness with the Higher Self.
A Kshatriya is the one who is engaged in Kriya Yoga or meditation, has evidence of the inner revelation between the eyebrows in the third eye, and who does not expect immediate results from his practice.
A Vaishya is the one who is engaged in Kriya Yoga or meditation but expects results from them. For example: the appearance of occult powers or liberation. This expectation of the results brings him to trade or to business, and he gets attached to his occupation.
The last class is Sudras. These are people who do not see the true path, and who are not engaged in any practices. These people must provide food for others and serve them honestly in order to find the true path by leading a righteous way of life.
FIVE STAGES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
If we go back to the stages of consciousness, we can carry out an analogy:
· The Sudras are those who are on the stages of physical and astral planes (kshipta and mudha).
· The Vaishyas are on the lower mental plane (vikshipta).
· The Kshatriyas are on the higher mental plane (ekagrata).
· The Brahmins are on the Buddhic plane (niruddha).
That is, each stage of the development of consciousness corresponds to some class that a person occupies in society. So it was in the Vedic culture (there is so much say about it, but nobody knows what it really is). We shall try to understand what the Vedic culture is.
Once again, let’s go back to the classes of society (look at the scheme “Four Classes of People”).
You can easily imagine that the people who are at the head of our state are all united with their Higher Selves, aren’t they? They are engaged in spiritual practices without expectation of results, aren’t they? (Laughter in the audience.) Did I say anything wrong? Don’t all the presidents of your countries practice Kriya Yoga? That means we have Sudras at the head of the countries. Sudras. Hence, you can understand what the Ascended Masters mean when they say that it is necessary to restore the true hierarchy in society. You can find Their words in the Dictations (http://sirius-eng.net). In my opinion, this is stated in more than one Dictation. They talk about the restoration of the true hierarchy. When They say this, They refer to this hierarchy (the scheme of the “Four Classes of People”), not the one that exists in modern India though, but the one which was in the Vedic society.
2. The origin of Yoga. The concept of Yoga as a science.
Let us look at the last Golden Age civilization that is still remembered on the planet Earth.
We know Yogi Bhajan (1929-2004). He said that once (about 40 thousand years ago) there was a Vedic civilization in the territory where we are now. This civilization was situated in the territory where the Russian steppe is now. It certainly does not mean that Russians were representatives of this civilization, just that the civilization was in this territory and that was the last civilization of the Golden Age. Thanks to Yogi Bhajan, we learned that it was about 40 thousand years ago. At that remote time, there gathered sages who were advanced Yogis and who were at the stage of Brahmins in their level of consciousness. Having foresight, they realized that we would get together with you in this auditorium, and that we would have nothing to help us to maintain a high level of consciousness, and therefore, it was necessary to take care of us. So, 40 thousand years ago, the best minds came up with the system that they called Yoga. They thought that, thanks to this system, we would be able to exist successfully in the society surrounding us.
About 10 thousand years ago, the civilization of the Golden Age moved to India because of the cold climate change, and it ennobled India with this Vedic wisdom (Bharata was the name of India in their language). Beginning with Vedas and Upanishads, it all came from the territory where the lands of Russia are now.
Let us get back to Annie Besant. What definitions of Yoga does Annie Besant give?
“Yoga is only a quickened process of the ordinary unfolding of consciousness.”
“Yoga is the rational application of the laws of the unfolding of consciousness, self-applied in an individual case.”
So Yoga is an individual method: the method of every person who works with his own consciousness with the help of a specific tool called Yoga. I emphasize, that this is individual work. So, when you go to yoga class twice a week, it is not Yoga, it is the exercise.
Here is one more quotation from the lecture of Annie Besant:
“Yoga is a science. That is the second thing to grasp. Yoga is not a vague dreamy drifting or imagining. It is an applied science, a systematic collection of laws applied to bring about a definite end. It takes up the laws of psychology, applicable to the unfolding of the whole consciousness of man on every plane, in every world, and applies those rationally in a particular case. This rational application of the laws of unfolding consciousness acts exactly on the same principles that you see applied around you every day in other departments of science.”
This means that Yoga is a quite definite science that was given to humanity so that humanity could develop by working on its consciousness with the help of this versatile tool called Yoga.
The word Yoga comes from Sanskrit root yoj or yuj, having many meanings: harness, exercise, restraint, connection, unity, bond, harmony, union. Sanskrit is a very meaningful language; one word can literally signify a whole poem.
So, originally there was only one Yoga given to mankind. But, over the 40 thousand years, this Yoga was being transformed, possibly due to the fact that different people were coming to teach it in different ways. Therefore, we have so many types of Yoga now. The most famous among them are Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga. All of these types of Yoga originated from one Yoga.
3. Eight Steps of Yoga (by Maharishi Patanjali)
Now we move on to another outstanding person who lived in the second century B.C. His name was Maharishi Patanjali.
This is his statue — a very serious man. Maharishi Patanjali lived in the second century BC. What is his primary service to humanity? He was the first to apply a system to the principles underlying Yoga and assembled it in his work, which was called “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.” This document is nearly impossible to read. I read it. It was originally written in one of the Indian languages; I do not remember exactly which one. There are many translations. But, since the people who translated it did not understand what they were writing about, it was not possible for me to comprehend this document. One of the most important points that Patanjali has made is a clear division of Yoga into eight steps. So the mastery of Yoga takes eight steps.
The first step is Yama, the second—Niyama, the third—Asana, the fourth—Pranayama, the fifth—Pratyahara, the sixth—Dharana, the seventh—Dhyana, and the eighth—Samadhi.
Eight steps of Yoga. Let us look at them in detail. This is very important, since we are engaged in Yoga, aren’t we?
The first step is Yama: adherence to moral precepts and laws of behavior in society. Does this remind you of anything? (Showing the flyer with “Morality Movement Member Code of Conduct”).
Morality Movement Member Code of Conduct
1. I do unto others as I would have them do unto me.
2. I harm neither humans, nor animals, nor the Nature.
3. I treat with love and care all my fellow beings and my home, planet Earth.
4. I work for the sake of the common good.
5. I choose honesty, truthfulness and sincerity, moral purity, simplicity and modesty in my social and personal life.
6. I aspire to elevate my consciousness and to think positively.
7. I follow a healthy lifestyle.
8. I rejoice in the achievements of others as if they were my own.
9. I am for the brotherhood of all nations.
10. I live according to my Conscience.
Yama is divided into five parts:
1. Ahimsa — nonviolence in deeds/in words/in thoughts
2. Satya — truthfulness, honesty in deeds/in words/in thoughts
3. Asteya — not stealing
4. Brahmacarya — continence and celibacy
5. Aparigraha — non-greed, non-grasping
The main principle is Ahimsa (nonviolence). In the Morality Code there are the following paragraphs: “I harm neither humans, nor animals, nor the Nature,” and “I treat with love and care all my fellow beings and my home, planet Earth.”
Not causing harm is the supreme law of morality, the most important of all Yamas. A Yogi should not cause harm directly or be an indirect cause of harm; he also must not encourage others to commit harm.
Ahimsa is practiced at three levels:
· In deeds it is expressed in unconditional good-natured attitude toward all living beings at all times and in all situations;
· In words: refraining from gossip;
· In thoughts: abstaining from evil or criticizing thoughts.
Ahimsa is also regarded as love to all creation.
In the first step, Yama, there is another important part beside Ahimsa, which is Satya. Satya is truthfulness and honesty. The opposite qualities are dishonesty and hypocrisy. A person cannot become a Yogi until he becomes truthful.
Truthfulness is also considered at three levels:
· In deeds it is the renunciation of lies, slander, insults, abuse;
· In words it is control of speech, the practice of silence;
· In thoughts it is abstinence from ridiculing what others hold sacred.
For example, there was the notorious debate in the media over the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. Some people even say — that is freedom of speech, right? That is freedom of speech, why can’t we make a caricature of the prophet Muhammad? They discuss it seriously. It is mind-boggling where society is heading!
The next principle is Asteya — not stealing. It means not only embezzling of somebody’s material property but also the misappropriation of ideas, the products of intellectual property. One cannot appropriate anything belonging to others.
Brahmacarya is restraint and control of sexual desire.
In the “Morality Member Code of Conduct” we put this in the fifth paragraph: “I choose honesty, truthfulness and sincerity, moral purity, simplicity and modesty in my social and personal life.” Here we meant both Satya and Brahmacarya — that is, a few points in one paragraph.
Brahmacarya is translated literally as the behavior of Brahmin and implies the arrangement of life in accordance with spiritual ideals. It is a state of mind and spirit. Many sages and yogis were married and fulfilled their social functions. Brahmacarya is the control of inclinations in deeds, in words, in thoughts, and in devotion to one’s family. Later, if it is still interesting to you, we will return to the subject to see how the Vedic philosophy considered the family and marriage.
The next part is Aparigraha: disinterestedness, non-grasping — that is, not hoarding, not saving, and not taking gifts. Yogi trains his mind not to feel a lack of anything. When he really needs something, it comes to him without any effort at an appropriate time.
So if we worry about something, when we are afraid that we do not have enough food or money, or we will not have something, then we will be losing it all until we stop worrying about it. But, when we trust that God will take care of us, then all of this will come to us by itself, in due time. Only our fear stands between the Divine abundance which we are originally destined to, and us. Indifference to things brings peace of mind.
We have considered the first step of Yoga according to Patanjali — Yama.
The second step is Niyama: it is external and internal purification through self-discipline or the individual rules of conduct, disciplining the one who is engaged in practice.
In other words, it is the work with one’s qualities and imperfections; a large number of Dictations from Ascended Masters are devoted to this subject, telling us how to achieve it. There are concrete recommendations in them, step by step.
· First: you must realize that you have them.
· Second: you must be willing to get rid of them.
· Third: you should ask God to have them released. That is all!
Niyama is divided into 5 stages: Sauca, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, and Ishvara Pranidhana.
1. Sauca — purity of body/speech/mind
2. Santosha — contentment (maintaining a constant positive emotional state)
3. Tapas — modesty, austerity, self-restraint.
4. Svadhyaya — self-education, self-reflection (it is both a study of self and learning through self)
5. Ishvara Pranidhana — faith in God (dedication of all the deeds, words and thoughts to the Highest Goal)
Sauca is purification. Through this practice we achieve a sense of detachment from the body.
If we go back to the Morality Code, the seventh paragraph is: “I follow a healthy lifestyle.”
Sauca is considered at three levels: body, speech, and mind.
1. Purity of the body is the practice of kriya, asana, pranayama; hygiene, wearing clean clothes, maintenance of the home, clean and tidy.
The most difficult point in this sauca is a physical and energy purity of food intake. This point is not possible to achieve in the present conditions. Are the products “growing” on the shelves in the store? Is that so? Are all of the people who produce these products “Brahmins”? So they prepare this food for us, then they add to it ingredients with the code E, genetically modified soy beans, and different kinds of preservatives. All of this is added into food, and we buy it all. It is not compatible either with human energy or vibrations, and it is not compatible chemically. And we take all this and we eat it.
At the very beginning of my lecture I said that our cells vibrate at a certain frequency. I read that there are three types of food: sattvic (satva is guna of goodness), rajasic (rajas is guna of activity), and tamasic (tamas is guna of ignorance).
So, all our food corresponds to guna of ignorance. As long as we eat the food which corresponds to guna of ignorance, we cannot do Yoga. See? It is a stumbling block to everything. We will not be able to do Yoga until we start eating decent human food. And this is the most difficult point to perform.
In order to make the food consistent with the human vibrations, we have to make sure that the food is sattvic. That means it is freshly picked grains, fruits, and everything from the garden: carrots, beets, potatoes, dill, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cereals like rye, oats, and wheat. Eat food without chemicals, without pesticides, grown with your own hands, with your own vibrations. If you consume milk, it should be from your own cow. What a cow eats is important; it should not be grazed in a garbage area or along a road, and it should eat good food. Clear, right? And this is the most difficult point to fulfill, in my opinion.
2. The second point is purity of speech. I remind you, we are dwelling upon the second step of Yoga according to Patanjali — Niyama, and Sauca – purity. We have considered the purity of the body and now we consider the purity of speech. This means compliance with the rules of language, good diction, and ethical statements.
3. Third, the purity of thoughts is the absence of negative emotions, such as hatred, anger, fear, greed, pride, lust, etc. This is the same as what the Masters teach us: there should be no negative feelings.
Next is Santosha. Santosha is contentment.
If we take our Morality Code it is the 6th paragraph: “I aspire to elevate my consciousness and to think positively.” In other words, we must always sustain inner positivity.
One of the main Teachings given by the Masters is: “Do not put your energy into negativity” (Lord Surya gave this particular instruction). That is, when we pay attention to negative things we automatically begin to strengthen them with our Divine energy. Therefore, one of the rules of Yoga is to think all the time about the good — that is, to pour the energy into the right Divine models.
So, the opposite forces have taken preventive measures long ago, and all the air, all the media, everything is flooded with what? With catastrophes, murders, explosions, wars, acts of terrorism, and we pour and pour the energy of our attention into all of this, and in this way we make it stronger and stronger day after day.
My father used to say, “If a person is being called a pig for five years, he will start grunting after all.” How many years have we been watching all this nonsense? The Masters tell us in almost every Dictation: “Do not watch TV.” The path of Yoga is closed for those who watch TV. You have to choose.
The second step of Yoga, Niyama, the third point Tapas. It is modesty, austerity, and self-restraint.
The practice of Tapas hardens will power; that is what gives a Yogi the strength of body and mind, courage and wisdom. Tapas is prolonged sitting, prolonged silence, etc.
Since 2009, we carry out this practice three times a day at my personal request. I banned all talk during the meals when we held the first workshop here in 2009. And we have been trying to achieve it for six years. Do you manage not to talk during the meal? Does it work? Not just be silent, but also not gesture. Full concentration on the inner silence, on God, while eating. This is natural. Is everyone doing it? No? It seems to be unattainable, the same as having the right food. Our food is also far from being right (laughing).
But with the next point Svadhyaya, self-education (a study of oneself and learning through oneself), everything is quite right. This is exactly what we are doing now. It is the University of Life Ethics, Sirius Centers, Dictations that we are reading, and Rosaries. All of these illustrate this point. We manage this well.
And lastly, the fifth point, is Ishvara Pranidhana — Faith in God. Many Dictations talk about Faith in God. Without Faith in God, Yoga is impossible.
Now we have finished the second step of Yoga according to Patanjali, and we proceed to the third step.
The third step is called Asana. Asana means the posture, position.
Patanjali teaches that the posture must be steady and comfortable. It can be achieved by relaxation and concentration. A motionless and comfortable state of the physical body is called Asana. A system of asanas has been elaborated for millennia, and each of them provides a broad and selective effect on muscles, nerves, organs, or glands of the body. The main purpose of asanas is to make the mind and body healthy, manageable, and reliable. But it is only a means of tuning the mind and body. You should not stop at this intermediate step, even having reached its highest point. If a person starts worshipping the body, he dies for Yoga. Only harmonious development of the physical abilities and moral qualities provides the unity called Yoga. Look at the picture of Lahiri Mahasaya. He is a top class Yogi. He could teleport, he could do anything, but his body did not look fit because he concentrated on God and not on his physical body.
The fourth step is Pranayama. Pranayama is control of breathing — inhalation, exhalation, and breath-holding. Prana is the energy basis of all life; it is life energy physically manifested in breathing. Yama means expanding. Therefore, Pranayama is an increase of vital energy through the control and regulation of its flow in the body.
With the help of Pranayama, the veils over the inner light are destroyed. Having learned to control the breath, Yogi is able to control the senses, which allows him to move to the next steps.
Clear, yes? That is step by step. Without having learned to control your breathing, it is useless to control the senses, because how we breathe controls our feelings. If we are breathing quietly, we are calm. If we are breathing this way (like a dog panting), we become as restless as a dog.
The fifth step is Pratyahara, control of our sense organs. These are: taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. All that is the subject of our senses must cease to exist for us. We must be fully focused on the inner world. If we want to practice Yoga, then everything in the outer world that attracts our sense organs must cease to exist for us.
The whole world is now arranged to capture our attention and senses, so that we will constantly give our energy to the industries that lead us nowhere. Think about what is the basis of advertising? Beautiful pictures are shown to us quickly so that looking at them we do not have a moment to think of God. In order for us to return to God, we need to direct all of our senses inside. This will be the Inner Path.
Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses from all of the world’s desires and temptations, and fixing them on the pure nature of the mind.
If we go back to the Dictations of the Masters, quite a few of them are devoted exactly to the development of non-attachment to desires, to the control of the senses, and They give simple recommendations on how to achieve this.
In the first place, do not watch TV. Originally, our senses were directed outward because we were on the outward Path, and now we have to turn around and go inward. So the first thing we need to do is to direct our senses inward.
Pratyahara is the liberation of the mind from the power of sensual objects, and the withdrawal of senses from the attachment to the external world. Yogi destroys the thoughts generated by ignorance and darkness, and he cultivates within himself all that is pure and bright, which gives him clarity of mind. This practice leads to proper concentration and meditation.
The sixth step is Dharana, can be translated as concentration — that is, concentration on an object or on the practice of concentration itself.
The task of Yogi in this case is to learn how to focus on one object, real or imaginary. For true concentration it is necessary to calm the body, breath, and mind, which is achieved through the previous steps.
But again the external world is trying to keep us out of this concentration. Modern technology used for television, not only news broadcasts but also simple feature films, are delivering the programs in a special manner with permanent flashing, which makes it impossible for a person to concentrate on anything after watching these movies. This is a unique technology that makes a person unable to ever meditate in this life. If a person has been watching TV since childhood, this life is lost for him. All that our television does is make us unable to ever experience concentration.
We are all the time in the process of doing something: we talk on one phone, we play on another phone, and at the same time we watch something on a computer, or the news, or something else. We are all the time in the process of doing something, and we can concentrate on nothing, absolutely nothing. We do the exact opposite of what the Sages recommended for us. And doing all of this, we consider ourselves to be on the path to God.
Finally we get to the practice of meditation.
The seventh step is Dhyana, a Sanskrit word that is translated in Latin as meditation. You do understand, right? Let’s look again at all these steps. To be clear — here is meditation.
If we have successfully passed Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, then we master Dhyana effortlessly. Dhyana is meditation or contemplation.
The continuous flow of cognition, inviolable like pouring oil, fixed on the inner auspicious object is called Dhyana. The realization of oneself through concentration of the mind on itself is Dhyana.
There are recognized practices of meditation. In the first stage, a person concentrates on some solid form. For example, Buddhists meditate on Buddha statue. They focus their attention on a solid object and they actually reach such a level of concentration that they fall into meditation.
Meditation is the highest form of concentration.
But then, at the next stage you keep detached from this object. You meditate on God, who has no form and is shapeless. You concentrate without any external object.
These are just two stages of meditation. One is called Saguna Dhyana, meditation on an object, and Nirguna Dhyana, subjective meditation.
I was talking about this in the video filmed in Altai in 2006 at the seminar “Inner Path,” which was shown at the beginning of this lecture. In the video, I explained that initially I meditated on the images of the Masters. But now it is not necessary for me to do that because I concentrate directly on God. These are just two stages: first you concentrate on an external form and then on its content.
Now we get to the final eighth step called Samadhi. Samadhi is the highest level of meditation, absolute self-absorption when the connection of Yogi with the Spirit of the Universe takes place; when the meditator, the object of meditation, and the process of meditation become one and cannot be separated from each other. This state is called Samadhi.
Samadhi is the state of balance in which the soul of an individual and the Supreme Energy merge into one. It is Advaita, or absence of duality.
The final goal of Yoga is Samadhi. Therefore many people say that Yoga is Samadhi. For a person who does not know what Yoga is and what Samadhi is, it is complete nonsense.
But, Yoga is Samadhi. You are not Yogi until you reach Samadhi.
 The Morality Movement was an International Social Movement founded by Tatyana Mickushina in favor and support of morality.