Lesson 35: Online Education in Yoga by Sri Prashant S Iyengar recorded 8-25-20
Dhyana Commences with Pranayama
Towards the end of the last session I made a passing statement, that pranayama, pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (enlightenment), are part of an uninterrupted process. You cannot interrupt them. If there is an interruption, you have to [return] to the starting point.
In the case of asana…, we… can say, “I practice asana in the morning, and pranayama in the evening,” or vice versa. People are also in the habit of saying, “I practice pranayama in the morning and dhyana in the evening,” or vice versa.
Dhyana, invariably, without exception, must commence with pranayama. Then I told you that with… gross pranayama, subtle pranayama, then pranava (AUM) of pranayama, that incorporates AUM, mantra, or nama, and pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.
It must be an uninterrupted flow. If there is an interruption for any reason, one has to start again come to gross pranayama. That’s the starting point. The point is, pranayama itself transforms into pratyahara and then that pranayama itself transforms into dharana, and then that pranayama itself into dharana and samadhi. This is how it has to be understood.
It would be naive to think that there is no pranayama while… dharana, dhyana and samadhi are on. There are also types of pranayama. Pratyahara of ashtanga yoga, then dharana, dhyana and samadhi of ashtanga yoga are all materially of pranayama. The material of all those is pranayama. That has to be understood.
Pranayama — Replication Requires Normal Breathing +02.45
Then there is another concept, idea, or notion…: Pranayama to samadhi, and perhaps even onward to asamprajnata (acognitive) samadhi [when chitta dissolves into mahat], is an integral process. That must be strongly impressed on the mind. [But], the popular notion… that pranayama is a kind of slower and deeper breathing… obstructs us from going further to pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi in ashtanga yoga.
It is important to conceive that there is a pranayama of normal breathing. The replication aspect, which is so fundamental in pranayama, and undoubtedly in dharana, dhyana and samadhi, entails that one must venture, and then learn, then acquire, and attain, pranayama of normal breathing.
In popular yoga this concept has been totally overlooked: Pranayama must mean a deep breath. It’s not necessary that pranayama should always be of deep breathing. If you [believe] that pranayama must be of deep breathing, and only deep breathing…, perhaps deeper and slower, that is ignorance.
Such a breath cannot be replicated. You cannot do more than 2,3,4,5……or 10 consecutive cycles of deeper breathing. If you want to replicate the breathing, with a kind of larger cluster, it is imperative that it must be normal breathing.
Therefore, there is a branch of pranayama which is of the nature of normal breathing, so that it can be continued over a longer time. [It exists] even in Patanjali’s scheme of desha (place), kala (time), and samkhya (count), where samkhya means, number of cycles in a cluster. The number of cycles will be fewer in an inferior pranayama. The number of cycles will be more in a middle grade of pranayama. [When] there are more and more number of cycles…, it will be a superior grade of pranayama.
There is mention of adho (basic) pranayama, madhyama (middle grade) pranayama, and uchcha (high grade) pranayama, and kanishtha (inferior) pranayama or jyeshtha (superior) pranayama. So, in [ranking] pranayamas, this number of cycles becomes more important. The samkhya of replicated, schematized cycles, should be greater, rather than lesser.
Of course, there is no pranayama of one cycle. Pranayama implies that there must be multiple cycles, samkhya — the number of cycles. So, if the number of cycles have to be increased in a particular scheme, or in a particular kind of regimen, it is best to have normal breathing. You can have a greater cluster in normal breathing.
The cycles —10s , 20s, 30s, 40s, 100s of cycles… depend upon normal breathing. [Without] normal breathing, you will not be able to do this.
The duration of time is important in the transformation from pranayama to pratyahara to dharana. That’s why there is a table in the science of yoga, the yoga shastra…. Just having a definition of pratyahara, coming down in the process, or in your embodiment, doesn’t become pratyahara.
| sva-vishaya asamprayoge chittasya svarupa-anukarah iva indriyanam pratyaharah |
Withdrawing (asamprayoge) the senses (indriya), mind and consciousness (chitta) from contact with external objects (vishaya), and then drawing them inwards towards the Seer, is pratyahara [PYS II.54]
is the definition. The senses going back to the nature of where chitta is, and staying, in the form of chitta, is pratyahara.
Pratyahara — Twelve Pranayama Cycles +09.20
There is also a time duration mentioned in classical texts. If that state of pratyahara, the abstraction or withdrawal of the senses from their objects, lasts for a second, then it is not pratyahara. Just satisfying the definition of pratyahara, doesn’t make it pratyahara.
The shastra says that [pratyahara] takes the precise amount of time taken by twelve pranayamic breaths. Inhalation, retention, exhalation, retention, is one cycle. Whatever the duration of that one cycle… multiplied by twelve is the abstraction (withdrawal) of the senses and the senses getting into the very nature of chitta. If it lasts for the duration of twelve cycles, it is pratyahara.
If you hypothetically presume that one cycle takes one minute — pranayamic inhalation , retention, pranayamic exhalation, retention, — pratyahara must last for twelve minutes. Only then is it pratyahara.
If it lasts for one, two, five or ten minutes, it is not pratyahara…. [According to] the table given in the shastra, pratyahara must last for the time taken by twelve pranayamas…. If it takes half a minute for one cycle, then it will be six minutes of pratyahara. Only then is it pratyahara.
Dharana — Twelve Times Longer Than Pratyahara +11.40
Then, for dharana, if it is twelve minutes… [times] twelve, by definition it would only be dharana if for a hundred and forty-four minutes. If [it] lasts for one, two minutes, or ten minutes, it won’t be dharana. Hypothetically it must last for one hundred and forty-four minutes….
Particularly in our times, when we practice yoga for half an hour, or forty-five minutes…, [it] can never include pratyahara. Even if it comes technically, it won’t be pratyahara. [It requires] one hundred forty-four minutes according to our hypothesis….
The dharana definition lasts for another twelve multiplications —
| desha bandhah cha chittasya dharana |
Fixing (bandha) the chitta on one point or region (desha) is dharana (concentration). [PYS III.1]
If the desha bandha, the confined, arresting, aspect, lasts for twelve [times] twelve… minutes, then it is dharana….
Dhyana Continues Twelve Times Longer Than Dharana +13.10
Therefore dhyana, is
tatra pratyaya-eka-tanata dhyanam |
The uninterrupted flow (eka-tanata) of attention directed towards (pratyaya) the same point or region is dhyana (meditation). [PYS III.2]
twelve [times] twelve [times] twelve… minutes…. Only then is it dhyana.
If it is samadhi, samadhi cannot be of just a fraction of a second. It must be twelve [times] twelve [times] twelve [times] twelve… minutes. Then it is samadhi.
Understand the implication of the continuity and… continuation. If it is interrupted you have to go back to gross pranayama and start again — subtle pranayama, Omkara pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.
As a part of education it must be known that there is no samadhi of [only] a minute…, or a fraction of a second. Similarly, there is no dhyana of a fraction of a second, or couple of seconds. Technically it might be dharana or dhyana, but not essentially. So dharana is
| desha-bandhah chittasya dharana ||
Fixing the consciousness on one point or region is dharana (concentration). [PYS III.1]
| tatra pratyaya-eka-tanata dhyanam |
The uninterrupted flow (eka-tanata) of attention directed towards (pratyaya) the same point or region is dhyana (meditation). [PYS III.2]
There must be continuation, a flow, of pratyaya, the cognition of that meditation must last. It must be taila dharavat, like the flow of oil, for dhyana…
Samadhi Continues Twelve Times Longer Than Dhyana +15.00
| tad eva artha-matra-nirbhasam svarupa-shunyam iva samadhih |
Samadhi is when only (matra) the object (artha) of meditation engulfs the meditator and self-awareness (svarupa) is lost (shunyam). [PYS III.3]
is the definition of samadhi.
That [results in] artha-matra (only the object) content and svarupa-shunyam (form of the self is void). The “I am” is gone. Meditation is gone. Only the meditated object is there. Then that is samadhi.
That should last for twelve [times] twelve for pratyahara, [times] twelve for dharana, [times] twelve for dhyana, [times] twelve for samadhi.
Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi Require Normal Breathing +15.30
Understanding it from the shastra point of view, or scientifically, is one thing. Now, if it has to last for such a long duration, then it implies that the breathing should be normal. [When] breathing is not normal, you will not be able to have such a long, continuous, flow to such an extent. Therefore, normal breathing is fundamental to dharana, dhyana and samadhi.
If we are thinking of dhyana in our yoga…, the breathing process should be normal [to] give us pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, and dhyana. So, we’ll have to develop this normal breathing pranayama, to a very great extent, to evolve the whole efficacy of pranayama. What is that [efficacy]?
| tatha kshiyate prakasha avaranam |
Pranayama removes (kshiyate) the veil covering (avaranam) the light (prakasha) of knowledge, and heralds the dawn of wisdom. [PYS II.52]
| dharanasu cha yogyata manasah |
The mind (manasah) also becomes fit for concentration (dharana). [PYS II.53]
[Pranayama is] the qualification for dharana and the prakasha avaranam kshaya (removal of the veil covering the light of the atman)….
We can understand that deeper exhalation in pranayama works wonderfully well. We get the effects of pranayama with a little deeper inhalation. All of our pranayama is of deeper, not normal, breathing. And slower…, and not sharper, breathing. Sublimation… [requires] breath and breathing should be soft, waft, delicate, tender.
We [mistakenly] can’t imagine pranayama without the breath being slowed down and… [more] voluminous…. This imagination should be set aside. We have to understand that only the normal breathing process can lead…, escalate, towards dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.
Meditation is Part of Dhyana +18.10
Let us not call dhyana “meditation.” When it comes to classical yoga, dhyana must be… called dhyana. [Don’t] call it meditation [just] for convenience [sake]. We dealt with meditation for quite a long time in our earlier sessions. I explained to you why meditation is not dhyana, and dhyana is not meditation. Meditation is a part of dhyana…. Anyway, I don’t want to revive that matter. You can go back to that session. Anyway, that s one thing.
The other thing… [is] taking our pranayama towards dhyana. As I said, we have not considered Patanjali’s concept of dhyana in our long delineation on dhyana. Patanjali himself mentioned three dhyanas. We have not considered that third dhyana. I initially mentioned… that we must qualify for that dhyana. That’s why I went with these long sessions… to understand pranayama.
Finally, I’ve stated that we must develop normal breathing in pranayama. We must become profound in normal breathing pranayama. We need to get all kinds of conditions to get prepared for the meditativity of dhyana. The normal breathing process must evolve. We need to work on that a lot to embark upon Patanjali’s, or classical, dhyana, or to incorporate that dhyana practice in our yoga. That’s one thing.
Vasana Management of Ahamkara (I-ness) Granthis (knots) in Head +20.10
We must also be familiar with the esoteric aspects of our anatomy and physiology. Why is our dhyana is disturbed? Many times you sit for your meditation and you see that your mind rebels. The mind is more uncultured, and uncivilized, when you decide to sit for dhyana. It becomes more turbulent. It becomes more violent. It becomes more fluttering. It becomes more and more fugitive. It becomes more and more mercurial.
[When] you can sit quietly, the mind will be quiet. But sit for meditation, and the mind will often start playing monkey games…. When you decide to meditate, you lose the placidity of your mind which you had before starting [meditation]. The mind was quiet, but then because of your meditation, the mind becomes [less] quiet. The mind becomes more monkey-like, more fugitive, more mercurial, more bizarre, more out of order.
Have you ever questioned… why this is? Otherwise, you are quite cultured in your mind. But when you sit for meditation for a while, then take up a japa, the mind plays all sorts of foul games. It’s like an… unwieldy, naughty child. The mind becomes like a naughty child. Why is this?
It is because we have not done any vasana (tendency) management…. In the process of yoga, asana, pranayama, etc., we need to tackle this vasana management. In esoteric academics, it is said that there are three granthis, knots. In the head region, we have ahamkara granthi, identity granthi, the I-ness and my-ness. The I-ness and my-ness are nothing but complicated knots.
Why are these knots complicated? If I speak of myself, who am I? I am a man. Then I have a caste, class, creed, gender, status, stature, conditions, etc. It’s all a knotting of that. That is what the pronoun I is. The pronoun I has all upadhis, delimitations, such as caste, class, creed, race, genetic background, genealogical background, age, gender, condition, state, status, stature. All these many things are [tied together] in a knot. That’s the complexity of identity.
Our I is never plain. There are lots of complexities, [such as] man, woman, young, old, strong, weak, healthy, unhealthy, wise, unwise, intelligent, stupid. What are we? When we characterize the pronoun I, we’ll have certain characteristics. We’ll say, “I am intelligent, I am strong, I am healthy,” etc. There are so many things that come in a knotted form. That is what gives us our pronoun I.
If this connoting knot is not there, then you don’t have crystallization of your pronoun I. So, that is called ahamkara granthi, not self-identity. Ahamkara does not means ego and pride. Ahamkara means I-ness. I-ness is nothing but a knotted condition of so many things. That is in the head region.
Bhavana (relationship) Granthis (knots) in Heart +24.35
In the chest region, the heart region, we have the bhavana granthi, our sentiments, our relations. We have so many relationships in the world. We are related to so many people. Others are related to us. So, there’s the relation complex. A man is not just a father. He is a son, husband, friend, uncle, and in countless relationships. All the relationships are knots.
They create a lot of problems in our mundane life. They give us happiness as well as sorrow, torment, as well as delight, as well as complexities. Those are called bhavana granthis, which are in the heart region.
Vasana (tendency) Granthis (knots) in Belly +25.35
In the belly region, belly and below, up to the pit of the trunk, it is called vasana granthi.
Vasana granthi, bhavana granthi, ahamkara granthi are the three knot junctions. In the science of yoga, they are referred to as Brahma granthi, Rudra granthi, and Vishnu granthi. Those are the technical terms: Brahma granthi (navel), Vishnu granthi (heart), Rudra granthi (mid-brow: bhrumadhya). But we can understand them by their profiles. Ahamkara granthi, bhavana granthi, and vasana granthi.
Now, these granthis are to be managed. These knots are to be loosened…, cultured…, and attended to…, [else] these detonate our meditation. When you sit for meditation and it detonates, there’s fretting and fuming and you come out of it. You say, “Oh, it has blown away my program, agenda, or plan to meditate.”
Why? The vasana vrtti, bhavana (feeling) vrtti, and aham (“I am”) vrtti, play havoc. So, we must know how to carry out this management.
There are two functional classifications of the mind. One is the pranic mind. The other is the vasanic mind. Vasanic mind includes vasana (tendency), bhavana (feeling) and aham (I am). Aham is also a vasana. Emotion is also a vasana. I-ness is also vasana, tendency. Emotionality is also tendency. Of course the vasana referred to earlier is also a tendency.
So, the granthi turiya (fourth state of having pierced the three knots) precept, or scheme, has to be handled in asana and pranayama. These granthis [must become] cultured.
From the point of view of granthi management, the mind has a two-fold classification. One is pranic mind, the other one is vasanic mind.
Dhyana Requires Mantra Japa & Nama Japa +28.30
When you are going for dhyana, it is implied that there has to always be, invariably, without exception in any hierarchy, nama (name of deity). There must be mantra. Without that, there is no japa (repetition of mantra). So, mantra japa and nama japa, are very, fundamental to dhyana, but not… the fashionable meditation of our times. There can also be meditation without japa these days. But dhyana implies, it is imperative, that there must be japa.
Japa is prana kriya…, because [it employs] letters. There is no japa without a letter or letters…. That is prana. In prana kriyas there are vowels, consonants, words, namas, and bija (seed) mantras to mantras. They form the material of japa. Without japa, there is no dhyana. As a matter of fact, japor dhyanam (mantra repetition is dhyana) is also one of the definitions we have seen earlier.
Japa Kriya Hypnotizes Vasanic Mind +30.00
[When] japa is done, it is called the pranic mind. The other one is called the vasanic mind. They combat [each other] when you are settling for japa. The pranic mind is more organized. It is a well-rounded wheel. This vasanic mind is a dented wheel. It can go anywhere, anyway. They will clash often. That is why our dhyanas are detonated.
Our japa sadhana, dhyana sadhana, is detonated because of the duel, the fight, the combat, between the vasanic mind, which is shapeless and irregular, and the pranic mind, which is regular. The pranic mind is in tune with your breathing cycle, and breathing rhythm. It is more organized, well managed, and shaped, because the breath is in rhythm. It is a well rounded… circle, whereas the circle of vasanic mind is not well shaped. It is dented. It has no specific shape. That’s why [the vasanic mind] is haphazard. This combat happens.
By developing the technology of dhyana, you will lessen the friction. You will lessen the combat…, and encounters. A mystic poet said that you must put the vasanic mind under a hypnotic spell. That’s what happens — the vasanic mind is put to sleep, like a mother comfortably working when the baby is fast asleep. The mother puts the baby to sleep and [then] does her activities.
Similarly, the vasanic mind has to be put to sleep by the yogic process of sublimation…. In hibernation it won’t interfere with your pranic kriya of japa, and dhyana can [be acquired], unobstructed. Learn this management in our practice of dhyana….
These two wheels [of the pranic and vasanic mind] must be there. These two wheels must be operating. These two wheels, the battles, must be reduced. What is the way to reduce [them]? To put the… vasanic mind under a spell. The pranic mind puts that vasanic mind under a spell. The prana kriya of japa has to put that vasanic mind under a spell so that it won’t interfere. That’s the trick of technology. That’s one thing. The vasanic mind and pranic mind concepts must be understood.
Prana and Tattva Kriya Manage Vasanas +33.25
We have to experience how… the two engage each other, and how to manage that encounter of the two to mitigate, and gradually set aside, the vasanic mind. That is a knack, a trick, which yoga technology, the cultural aspects of yoga kriya will teach. We must be aware of these concepts, this classification.
Then, vasana management is part of yoga, where the body is sublimated, the mind is sublimated, the body is cultured, and the mind is cultured. Otherwise, there are… sharira (body) vasanas, indriya (organ) vasanas, and manasic (mental) vasanas. All these vasanas have to be understood and managed in process of classical yoga.
When they are managed well, they won’t interfere. They won’t dabble with your process. So vasana kshaya (diminution of tendencies), vasana management, is an important aspect done by prana kriyas…, and tattva (principle; here referring to the five elements) kriyas. All our vasanas are rooted in elements — prthvi (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire), vayu (air), and akasha (space). Therefore, tattva management [by means of] the pancha tattva (five element) kriyas, is called pancha tattva shuddhi (purification of the five tattvas).
Bhuta (gross element) & Devata (celestial) Shuddhi (purification) +35.15
There is a concept of bhuta shuddhi (gross element purification) in the new adhyatma. It should be understood that bhutas (elements) don’t come in while you are in yoga.
[Purification] is in the pancha tattvas (five principles). I have also explained in one of the earlier sessions that prthvi (earth), ap (water), tejas (fire), vayu (air), and akasha (space) are the pancha mahabhutas (five great elements). But in the yogic process they become the pancha tattvas (five principles). Prthvi, ap, tejas, vayu, and akasha become tattvas. Bhuta shuddhi is a very gross process. Tattva shuddhi is more akin to yogic technology.
Then comes devata shuddhi (celestial purification). The [elements] become devatas (deities) in the exalted state of yoga. Prthvi devata, ap devata, agni devata, vayu devata, akasha devata become celestial in nature. Then, these celestial aspects, also have to be further cultured and transmuted for dhyana to succeed. So, what are these concepts…? Pancha bhuta shuddhi, pancha tattva shuddhi, and pancha devata shuddhi (five element, five principle, and five celestial purifications).
Chakras Managed by Asana & Pranayama to Control Vasanas +36.30
Then, if you recall the delineation on the pranamaya kosha, that there are six chakras. There are six sets of vasanas — muladhara vasana, svadhishtana vasana, manipuraka vasana, anahata vasana, vishuddhi vasana, and ajna vasana… [that] ensue from these chakras. So, there are six sets of tendencies in us. [It differs from] modern psychology, where all that is just rounded into one [category] called subconscious tendencies. [Here], the subconscious tendencies, again, are classed into six… that refer to the muladhara, svadhishtana, manipuraka, anahata, vishuddhi, and ajna [chakras].
The shat (six) chakra kriya have to be handled in our asana and pranayama. [When] we [mistakenly] don’t handle this, we just want to sit cross-legged, close the eyes, and get into dhyana. It won’t work that way. We have not followed the non-dual regimen prescribed by the shastra (text). So, shat (six) chakra kriya (actions), shat chakra samskara (imprints), shat chakra shuddhi (purification), shat chakra vyavasthapana, (six chakra) management.
That has to be accomplished so that the vasanas will come more under our… control, management. Then our dhyana will not be detonated, obstructed or impeded. This aspect of esoteric physiology must be understood. That’s why we considered the pranamaya kosha. We considered the pancha koshas. We have not done… any technology for the pancha koshas, [but] we are trying to get into dhyana. It won’t work. That is [the] other thing — the esoteric aspects of anatomy, and physiology. The [first] is granthi (knot management), the other one is this.
Senses — Locus of Present +39.05
In the technological realm of yoga, let me induct you to another aspect that is called kala sandarbha (time reference)…. Ideally, any Tom, Dick or Harry advises, don’t go to the past, and don’t go to the future. Be in the present. Meditation is to be in the present…. That is only possible if you shun the past and… future. So, this kala sandarbha… is the past, present, and future time aspects. Some consideration of the time aspect is important here.
In our psychological locus of the brain, we should understand this aspect… [of] the esoteric anatomy of the brain.
The center part of the brain [tracing across eyes and mouth] is for the present. When you are hearing, what do you hear? You hear what is presently going on. When I am talking to you, it is a present tense activity. You hear what I say, so the ears hear the present.
Eyes look at the present. When you are looking at what is in your sight, at that present moment, you can see only that. What has gone into the realm of the past and is latent, you can’t see now. If you are now seeing, you are seeing in the present. If you are now hearing, it is in the present. If you are now smelling, it is in the present. If you are now tasting, it in the present. Yesterday’s taste is not in the present, tomorrow’s taste is not in the present, tomorrow’s audition is not in the present. Yesterday’s audition is not in the present.
So that’s why this is called the band of the present [tracing from right cheek and temple to left]. All present tense is between the mouth and eyebrows. Is that not a logical idea? If you want to be in present, your senses must be operating. They must interact with objects only… which are presently available. Not available [in the past] or future. That’s why it is called the band of the present [tracing from right cheek and temple to left] — the mid-band of your face, from the hairline to the chin line. The mid-band of the senses. All the senses are centered there.
From eyebrows to mouth, all the senses are [in] that [present] band. There is no sense organ below the mouth. Eyes could have been below the mouth. Why not? So, this is the band of the present. The mid-part of the brain and face is the present.
Forehead is Locus of Past, Throat is Locus of Future +42.55
Then, when we are struck by destiny, where do we point? “Oh,” you say, “it is my fate.” Where do you point to [tapping the forehead]? Above the eyebrows, on the forehead. The forehead is the past. Your destiny is because of the past. The past structures your destiny. The future doesn’t structure your destiny now. So past structure [is above the eyebrows]. This is the past tense, psychologically. This is the present tense [tracing the eyes] psychologically.
And then future is the mouth, [down] to the throat. This is the future [tracing from mouth to throat]— because you resolve, decide, and plan. Resolution and decision are oral acts…. You decide to do something for tomorrow. You plan to do something for tomorrow. That is a speechly act. So, the part below the mouth to the throat, is your future tense. So future tense [traces throat right to left], present tense [traces eyes right to left], past tense [traces forehead right to left].
Meditation is From the Past, Not in the Present +44.35
There is a popular idea that you must be in the present to… meditate. Find out what you have to do, to rest the future band [traces mouth to throat], and the past band [traces eyebrows to hairline]. The past band and future band have to wane to be in the present. If you have that idea that meditation has to be in present…, something has to be done with the… three bands.
[If you] take your vision, or even closed-eye awareness, to the brain, you will have turbulence because the future is not known. Therefore…, there’s apprehension like [when] “groping in a dark” place….
When you draw your awareness to the forehead region, there will be an uncomfortable condition. You’ll never be comfortable by drawing your eyes up, or your awareness up, into the forehead region.
When the eyes are kept in the present, and when you create the abstraction, eyes can go back. Eyes going in has to be experienced by yoga technology. You have got eyeballs. The eyeballs should become eye saucers. Eye plate, eye saucers, eye valleys, which is the pratyaharic technology. So that must be mastered.
Then, your vachika kriya manages the past tense in you. That has to be done.
Understand the paradox. On one hand, idealism says don’t go to [either] past or future… to meditate. You must be in the present to meditate. A cerebral meditation must be in the present. Don’t go to the past and don’t go to the future.
Time—Present Metaphysically Evolves from Future, Psychologically from Past +47.20
But understand the implications. There is no present detached from the past. From the past you come to the present. And the… present comes from the future. In the natural process, the future becomes present, and present becomes past. The journey is from future to present to past. The future moments become present moments, and present moments become latent moments. Latent moments don’t become present moments. So, the journey is not from past to present to future in this dimension. The journey is from future to present to past.
While in our… psychological thought process…, we can come from past to present to future. But that is reflection. It is not true. There is a virtual reality in holding that the journey is from past to present to future. That’s a virtual reality.
Actual reality is the future, to present to past. The potential becomes actual, and actual becomes latent. Latent doesn’t become actual, and actual doesn’t become potential. Do you understand? So, potential to actual to latent is the journey. Not latent to actual to potential.
This metaphysical aspect must be understood. The metaphysical reality [opposes] virtual reality. Virtually we will think that the past and present are connected. You can’t have this connection. Where is the present coming from? In virtual reality it might come from past. In actual reality it will come from future. In no case are they disconnected from future and past. Therefore, it is highly idealistic to think, “Banish the past. Banish the future. Stay in the present.”
This is impossible because it is a continuation. Time is running. How does the time run? From potential to actual to latent, not from latent to actual to potential. Journey is that way. So, it must be clear that you can’t altogether disconnect the past and future from your present. The present is ensuing from the future, as far as reality is concerned. Otherwise, the present is coming from past in a virtual reality.
We have not come from today to yesterday. We have come today from tomorrow. What was tomorrow has become today. It has become today, today. This today is going to become yesterday, tomorrow.
The journey is not the other way around. Yesterday doesn’t become today, and then today doesn’t become tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes today, and today becomes yesterday, chronologically. So, this must be understood.
And then there is a connection. You can’t just disconnect and become the frame of the present. There is connection of the present with the future, as well as the past. The present [lasts for] just for a moment — precisely a moment. Moment means an infinitely finite unit of time…. In one moment, it will become past.
So, the present is connected to the past, because of it is immediacy going into the past. You cannot disconnect, you cannot break [it]. Metaphysically it must be understood that the present is only for a moment. It is only for a moment. It immediately slips into the past. Therefore, the past is not disconnected from the present. And it comes from future. Therefore, it cannot be disconnected from the future. This metaphysical reality must be understood.
Dhyana Based on Profound Knowledge from Past Experience +52.25
If you want to do dhyana, or even… cerebral meditation, you meditate on the things that you know. You don’t meditate on a thing which is yet to be known. You always meditate on what you know. Meditation will only come about something that you already know and not that something is yet to be known. Then you couldn’t have meditativity, because meditativity is a profound faculty function. Not having known anything — [if] altogether totally unknown — you can’t meditate. Something should be sufficiently known. Then you can meditate.
Now, if something is already known, it is in the realm of the past. So, dhyana and meditation depend on the past. If the past is not ripe you will not meditate. If the knowledge of the realm of the past is not mature, or ripe, you won’t meditate. If it is a raw knowledge, you won’t meditate. There is no need to meditate. It is not even possible. It is not even entailed.
So, when the knowledge is profound, you can go for meditativity. If the knowledge is raw, you can’t go for meditativity. Understand that meditation is always depends on the past.
There s a hollow idealism to banish the past to be in dhyana. Or banish the past to be in meditation. Because the material of meditation, the object of meditation, will always come, the support of meditativity and meditation and dhyana, will always come from past. Already known, profoundly known, profusely known, thoroughly known. You can’t be an adversary of past, because meditation will come from the past.
Dhyana Occurs in the Meditative Back Brain + 54.45
If it is from the past, neurology says, the back of the brain is the past brain. That is, meditation is always from the back brain, in the back brain, and of the back brain.
The front of the brain is the future. If I ask you, what you will do tomorrow, next week, or next month, the flow of awareness will come to the front of the brain. Awareness will bang on front of your brain, what to do tomorrow, what to do next week…, next month, and next year, etc. So, awareness will come, and dash onto the front of the brain.
But if I ask, “What did you do yesterday? What did you do last week? What did you do last month?” your mind awareness goes to the back. That is the past [pointing to the left occipital bone]. This is the future [pushing his palm into the camera lens]. This is the future [tracing from the forehead to the chin]. This is the past [tracing from the top to bottom of the posterior skull].
Meditativity, meditation, dhyana, is always in the meditative brain. That’s why that is called the back brain, meditative brain, and old brain. That’s called the old brain as well.
You can’t be an adversary of the past. If you are thinking of dhyana, don’t be a fan of the present, [else] you will never go to meditation. Don’t be a fan, or a sycophant of the present. You will never go to meditation.
Try to become fan of the past, the old. Then you will go to meditation because that back of the brain is the locus of meditation. The back of the brain is the fount full of meditation. Dhyana has to be done in the back of the brain. Never do dhyana on the front of the brain. It is not dhyana. It must be back of the brain.
Abstraction (withdrawal) of the senses can be imagined. This concept of the back brain, which is the past brain, is therefore also called the meditative brain in neurology. Something has to be done in the back of the brain if you are going to do dhyana. Don’t try to do something in the front of the brain.
The future awareness comes forward, and dashes on the front [circularly pointing to forehead, cheek and chin]. Past mind awareness goes backwards, and dashes onto the back [waving towards the left occiput]. The mind going towards the back of the brain is the proper preparation for pranayama, not coming towards the front of the brain. So, part of the brain is called the past brain, part of the brain is called the future brain.
Time — Succession of Infinitely Finite Moments +57.55
A logical question [arises]: Which is the present brain? Actually, there is nothing like the present at all. You just can’t catch the present moment. It will be a cluster of moments. It will be always a body of moments. Nothing can be done in precisely a single moment. Any action is done in a body of moments, which is time. A moment is an… infinitely finite unit of time.
You can’t even snap your fingers… [in] a moment. Finger snapping is a symbol of happening in a moment. It’s a snap, not a moment: the thumb and middle finger had to come together [in an] act of flipping. In slow motion they come together, they touch, they press, and then, they snap…. Again, the finger snap, has gone, snap, where? Thumb has gone where, snap? And middle finger gone where? So, [although]we say snap of a finger, the snap of the finger is not a moment, because in slow motion… you will see the coming together, the pressing, and then, the snap. Where has the thumb gone? And where has the index finger gone? The middle finger is gone to the mount of the thumb, and thumb has gone out. It has not happened in a moment.
Nothing happens in a moment. It always happens in a body of moments, a succession of moments. The succession of moments implies that there is a past and future. If there is a succession of moments, you… will see that there are past moments and future moments which [comprise] the cluster of moments, the body of moments.
So, something about the kala (time), must be also understood. So, the question is, if this is the past brain [palming the back of the head], this is the future brain [touching the forehead], then where is the present brain? This is a logical question.
Time — Present Exists Only for a Moment, Immediately Becomes Latent +1.00.05
The point is, there is nothing like the present existing. Present, that moment, immediately, goes into latency. And, immediately, the future moment comes into the frame of the present. And it doesn’t stay there. You can’t catch it.
It is as difficult as catching mercury on the floor. If you try to catch the present moment, it is like struggling to catch mercury, hold mercury, and touch mercury with your hands when it is fallen onto the floor. If you want to touch mercury, you must put it into a test tube, and then dip your finger [in it] to touch it. But if it is fallen on the ground, you can’t touch it. The present is like mercury fallen on the floor. [It is] difficult…, impossible to touch. Put it into a test tube to touch it….
The present doesn’t exist, as a matter of fact. We all believe the present is true, [but] the present is not really true. It is only for a moment. It immediately goes to latency…. From the nonexistent state, to the existent state to the latent state. It really doesn’t exist. Therefore, there is no precise present moment.
Therefore, there is no present brain. There’s only past and future. Chronologically, we always will be touched… and impacted by the past and future. So that madness has to be given up. This ideology has come to us that we think the present is really reality. You cannot even touch the precise present moment. It is just for a moment.
What can you do in precisely one moment? Can you catch one moment? You can’t catch it. It will be always a cluster of moments. The succession of moments are only giving us the time concept.
A moment is the infrastructural matter of time. You can only conceive time. You can’t conceive a moment. Time will always be a body of moments. Moment is a metaphysical concept. Therefore, we should be clear about this past, present, and future.
Dhyana Supported By Past, Old Brain +1.03.00
Without reservation, go to the past and take that as a support for dhyana. You can’t take support for dhyana from something which is in the unknown realm. It must be in a well-known realm, not only a known realm. A well known realm that is always in the past. Don’t be an adversary of the past. Don’t be an adversary of the past brain. Don’t be an adversary of the old brain.
Develop a friendship with old brain. Develop an association with the old brain, rather than disassociating with the old brain. That’s important for meditation, meditativity, and dhyana.
So, a few ideas, philosophical precepts, metaphysical concepts to be well aware of, so you will know what dhyana really is. That’s why I gave you some input to understand what dhyana is.
 I made a passing statement, that pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, are a part of uninterrupted process: See: “Pranayama to Samadhi Is Single Continuous Process +23.15,” Lesson 34: Pranayama — Source of Dhyana (Meditation) 8-16-20.
 Then I told you that there is a gross pranayama, subtle pranayama, then pranava of pranayama, that incorporates AUM, mantra, or nama, and pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi: See “Pranayama — AUM Nama Launches Samadhi +28.45,” Lesson 34: Pranayama — Source of Dhyana (Meditation) 8-16-20.
 pranayama itself transforms into pratyahara and then that pranayama itself transforms into dharana, and then that pranayama itself into dharana and samadhi: See “Pranayama to Samadhi Is Single Continuous Process +23.15,” Lesson 34: Pranayama — Source of Dhyana (Meditation) 8-16-20.
 Pratyahara of ashtanga yoga, then dharana, dhyana and samadhi of ashtanga yoga are all materially of pranayama: See “Pranayama Types — Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi +47.05,” Lesson 34: Pranayama — Source of Dhyana (Meditation) 8-16-20.
 pranayama which is of the nature of normal breathing… [It exists] even in Patanjali’s scheme of desha (place), kala (time), and samkhya (count), where samkhya means, number of cycles in a cluster: See | bahya abhyantara stambha vrttih desha kala samkhyabhih paridrstah dirgha suksmah | (Pranayama has three) movements (vrttis): prolonged (dirgha) and fine (suksma) inhalation (abhyantara), exhalation (bahya) and (stable) retention (stambha vrtti); (all) regulated with precision (samkhya) (according to) duration (kala) and place (desa; referring to lungs). [PYS II.50]
 The senses going back to the nature of where chitta is, and staying, in the form of chitta, is pratyahara: In other words, instead of the senses seeking mundane enjoyment (bhoga) of external objects, they seek jnana (knowledge of the Self) by means of yoga. That fulfills their role as jnanendriyas (organs of knowledge).
 The dharana definition lasts for another twelve multiplications: “He should fix his mind on Brahman for the time it takes to complete twelve pranayamas.” [Garuda Purana I.227.24]
 If the desha bandha, the confined, arresting, aspect, lasts for twelve [times] twelve… minutes, then it is dharana: “Twelve dharanas in Brahma is defined as dhyana. When the yogi, who has practiced dharanas for a period of twelve pranayamas, meditates for a period of twelve dharanas, it is known as dhyana. [As in the case of dharana]… the special definition of dhyana mentioned by Patanjali, has to be qualified by the time taken for twelve dharanas.” [Garuda Purana: quoted in Vijnana Bhikshu III.2]
 dhyana, is… twelve [times] twelve [times] twelve… minutes: Although Prashant counted fourfold, the count should be threefold longer than the hypothetical pranayama of one minute, or 1728 minutes / ≈ 28.8 hours.
 samadhi … must be twelve [times] twelve [times] twelve [times] twelve… minutes: Although Prashant counted fivefold, the count should be fourfold longer than the hypothetical pranayama of one minute, or 345.6 hours / ≈ 14.4 days. This is consistent with his premise that “dharana for a hundred and forty-four minutes.”
 There must be continuation, a flow, of pratyaya, the cognition of that meditation must last. it must be taila dharavat, like the flow of oil, for dhyana: See: “If the flow of knowledge in dharana may be compared to a succession of similar drops of water, then in dhyana the flow of knowledge is continuous, like the flow of oil or honey…. When knowledge is continuous, it appears as though a single idea is present in the mind.” [Hariharananda Aranya III.2]
 That should last for twelve [times] twelve for pratyahara, [times] twelve for dharana, [times] twelve for dhyana, [times] twelve for samadhi: Based on the hypothetical pranayama of one minute it would last 14.4 days. See: “One should fix one’s mind on Brahma and practice meditation up to a limit of twelve. Then one should remain united due to becoming one with the object (Brahma in this case). This is called samadhi.” [Garuda Purana I.227.25 quoted in Vijnana Bhikshu III.3]
 Meditation is a part of dhyana…. You can go back to that session: See “Pranayama — Gateway to Dhyana,” Lesson 23: Pranayama (Part 1)
 Those are the technical terms: Brahma granthi (navel), Vishnu granthi (heart), Rudra granthi (mid-brow: bhrumadhya): See Katha Upanishad II.2.15. When these granthis are pierced, one can hear the nada (subtle sound) according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika IV.70-76: In the first stage [arambhavastha], when the heart chakra [brahma granthi] is pierced, we hear tinkling sounds or ornaments in the space of the heart in the center of the body…. When the Vishnu granthi in the throat is pierced [by the vibrations] it is a sign that divine bliss [brahmananda] will follow. In the sound box of the throat chakra [ati shunyata] there a complex sound arises, like that of a big drum…. After the vibration has pierced the last knot [the agna chakra], the forehead’s center [of consciousness], it rises to the divine place. When the Rudra granthi is pierced and the air enters the seat of the Lord (the space between the eyebrows), then the perfect sound like that of a flute is produced.
 As a matter of fact, japor dhyanam (mantra repetition is dhyana) is also one of the definitions we have seen earlier: Prashant cited this definition from the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana in “Three Types of Dhyana—Review,” Lesson 14: Dhyana Serves Embodiment 5-17-20 .
 There is a concept of bhuta shuddhi (gross element purification) in the new adhyatma: New signals that Prashant disagrees with the concept that the bhutas may be purified. However, the position must be acknowledged in order to refute it.
 the pancha mahabhutas (five great elements). But in the yogic process they become the pancha tattvas (five principles): Tat-tva, literally that-ness, refers to the 24 principles of prakrti: mula-prakrti; mahat or buddhi; ahamkara and the 5 tanmatras; the 5 jnanendriyas, 5 karmendriyas, and 5 mahabhutas. The yogic process transforms the mahabhutas from mundane matter into broad metaphysical principles with divine status. See “Pancha Tattvas (Five Essential Principles) & Chakra Kriyas +40.25,” Lesson 19: Vachika Kriya (Part 3)
 There are six sets of vasanas — muladhara vasana, svadhistana vasana, manipuraka vasana, anahata vasana, vishuddhi vasana, and ajna vasana… [that] ensue from these chakras: See Lesson 26: Pranayama Manages Chakras 6-21-20.
 The succession of moments implies that there is a past and future: This is an explication of “time as the sequence (krama) of moments (kshana)” stated in PYS III.53 By samyama on the moment (kshana) and the continuous flow (kramayoh: sequence) of moments, the yogi gains exalted knowledge (vivekajam jnanam), free from the limitations of time and space. According to BKS Iyengar, the moment is a pure, unconditioned state untainted by psychological or chronological time. [B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1993. P. 220]