Vachika Kriya — Verbal Acts
1. This session is a continuation of the last session. We will pick up some matters from the last session and proceed further.
First of all, we were discussing thought matter in asana. How do we have thought matter in asana? Usually we do the asana to set right the body, mind, and breath. That will give an experience of a good asana…, but where is the thought matter? [The lack of grasping] thought matter misses a very major component of asana which I want to highlight today….
3. Rather than going for a mere experience of quietude, placidity, equality, equilibrium, sublimeness… we have to generate thought matter. So we cannot just set right the body, mind, and breath. We will have to bring in a kriya [action] which is important in adhyatma [sadhana] (practice of the pursuit of Self). In adhyatma the constitution of an adhyatmika act is by kaya vacha manasah [body, speech, mind]. Kaya means body, body parts, body organs, body matter. Then comes vacha, speech, and then comes manas (mind).
3. In our introductory instructions we went for setting right the body-set, mind-set, breath-set, body-set by addressing the mind-set, breath-set in asana…. But adhyatma says that vachika kriya (verbal act) is very important. Vachika kriya means verbal act. Usually only the teacher conducting classes [employs] a spoken act. The student… comes with a sealed mouth and then… says, “I am participating wholly and completely.”
Adhyatma analyzes all acts in the components… of the body, speech, and mind. So adhyatma tries to classify our activities on the basis of body component, speech component, and mind component. The speech component, one of the major kriyas [actions] of asana, is not coming. What is meant by that and how will it… turn out the thought matter?
4. While we are in asana we are not just supposed to have body, mind, and breath-considerate components…, but we need to have a vachika kriya, verbal act. What is this verbal act? We are supposed to be commentators while the asana is being done.
5. We know our roles as doers…, and receivers in asana. We receive the state, we benefit. We receive the pains when the posture is wrong. We receive the balance and equanimity when the posture is right…. So we are doers…, dispensers…, and receivers. But being an adhyatmic act… implies that there must be verbal act. So I want you to develop this habit.
Vachika Kriya in Bharadvajasana +5.40
1. For instance, as an illustration, take Bharadvajasana, which all of you can do… either on the floor or on the chair. Now, in Bharadvajasana, commence doing the posture. You are not supposed to be just a doer of the posture.
Also start to learn this habit gradually. Because you are not habituated it will take some time. Go for commenting. Give a running commentary of body-mind-breath interactions, and body-mind-breath interplay. What are you doing? Let it be part of your commentary. What is the body doing? Let it be part of your commentary. What is the breath doing? What is the mind doing? What are their interactions? This commenting act is very important.
2. As I said, it is an educational process. For an educational process, we need to be reading. We need to be writing. There is no education without reading and writing. Start commenting here. Actions, responses, any resistances, any assistances, any participations, any involvement. [Just as how] in sports there are commentators who give a running commentary…, we should develop this habit of giving a running commentary.
What is the body doing? What is the mind doing? What is the breath doing? What is the inhalation doing? What is the exhalation doing? What are the senses doing? What are the limbs doing? What are the organs of the body, and organs of the mind doing…? Start commenting on all these factors.
3. As you are in Bharadvajasana, you will be changing sides on your own. Do not just do advertently [intentionally] to… score some merit. Do consciously, sensitively, and with observation.
But apart from that, over and above that, also understand your role as a commentator. Start giving a running commentary. What are the arms doing? What have they done? What is the back doing? What is the spine doing…? What are the abdomen, chest, and pelvis is doing? What is done?
So doer, doing, done, as I have told you, should be forming a part of your commentary which is describing, and articulating, the doer, doing and done. The body, mind, and breath, doer, doing, and done. Mutually doing for each other. You doing, and you being done. So this should start becoming part of your commentary.
4. That means you must read your dynamics. You will start reading your body, mind, and breath-associated body, mind, and breath doing. So in Bharadvajasana don’t just do advertently, sensitively, cognitively, and conatively, but see that there is a commenting act. Develop this habit.
You can take a respite in between because you are not used to giving a running commentary on your own pose, on your own endeavor.
We want to do something watchful…, we want to do something sensitively, we want to do [intentionally], but additionally develop this trait of commenting silently. It is a silent commentary. Nothing will escape your commentary.
If nothing escapes your commentary, [then] nothing escapes your observation. So commenting will also improve your observation because you [must] observe to comment.
5. Watch what the breath is doing. Exhalation process, inhalation process; normal exhalation, deeper exhalation; normal inhalation, deeper inhalation; profound inhalation, profound exhalation; sharper exhalation, sharper inhalation; rarefied exhalation rarefied inhalation. Wherever the post-exhalation retention comes, include the uddiyana mudra.
Include all this in your act of commentary. Over a period of time, you will become a better commentator on your dynamics. When you are commenting, you will crystallize certain concepts, certain notions, and certain ideas.
When you have perceived something, you cannot say there is no thought. When you have heard something, you cannot say there is no thought. When you have sensed and experienced something, you cannot say no thought has been generated.
6. All [the senses] will be generating thought, but they need crystallization. Circumscribe body, mind, and breath, their actions, reactions, responses, and participation, [plus] your action, participation, involvement, responses, and reactions. When you start articulating those, by the act of commenting, they will be verbalized and help you crystallize all those states and experiences. They have to be verbalized. This vachika kriya (verbal act) is so important.
We have lost vachika kriya in the ultramodern, consumer yoga. Consumer yoga only thinks of perfecting the body, perfecting the mind, that’s all. There is no knowledge process. So [to further] the knowledge process, the educational process, we need to crystallize the concepts, notions, and ideas. When you verbalize by commenting, these things will be crystallized, there will be ideas, and that is the thought matter. So you will realize there is abundant thought matter.
Vachika Kriya — Address Body, Mind, Breath in Bharadvajasana +13.45
1. Now, go for body-set addressal in your Bharadvajasana.
Then comment on the process. How is the body-set addressal? What are the dynamics of body-set addressals? What do the associated body, mind, and breath do for the body-set addressal? Crystallize that rather than only accomplishing it. If you just do it, you can accomplish [something], but start commenting on you collected thought matter.
2. Then go to the breath-set addressal. See how the body, mind, and breath address the breath and breathing…. What is the process, the consequence, and… the effect? The act of commenting will help you crystallize these. They will be verbalized. They will become ideas…, notions…, and concepts.
When there is mind-set addressal, what does the body-mind-breath do for mind? So this act of commenting will open out the literacy aspect of yoga.
3. Yoga is not just about accomplishment. You must be literate about yoga… and your embodiment. [Vachika kriya] will give you literacy about your embodiment, the dynamics of yoga and of yoga itself. So this act of commenting will help you develop, help you crystallize ideas, notions, concepts, precepts, and they will become thought matter.
When there is thought matter, there is thinking, there is a thinker. Then you can be going for that meditative activity. So the most important raw material for meditative activity in asana is vachika kriya, the verbal act. Go by that.
4. In your Bharadvajasana, go for various phases of asana– doing, staying, maintaining, intensity, penetration, freedom, settled condition. The commenting act will crystallize of all this. You will crystallize rather than going through it.
Doing learning, studying, observing, and experimenting [generate] a thought process — analysis, synthesis, deliberation, reflection.
Also, with the commenting act, thoughts will crystallize. Only when the thoughts are well crystallized can you go for meditative activity. If the thoughts are not well crystallized you can never go for meditativity… with respect to a thought. The crystallization is important, and the act of commenting will help you develop this.
5. The pop yoga has totally neglected this. Nowhere are you given any instructions about the verbal act, the vachika kriya, running commentary. Become a good commentator on yoga. Then you will also become eloquent in yoga. You will become literate in yoga.
This vachika kriya is so important that it will turnout enormous thought matter to facilitate meditativity. So this was a little more opening on the topic that we discussed yesterday.
Mano Vrttis are External +18.00
1. Now we will open out another point that we introduced in the end of the last session. I said chitta vrtti nirodha yogah is the definition of yoga. I stated that you are not getting these chitta vrttis in your wakeful state. When we are awake, yoga doesn’t restrain those [vrttis]. Restraining those is not really essential yoga.
I said yesterday that these are vrittis in the internal realm. [However,] all these vrttis that you have construed — pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrti (correct knowledge, error, imagination, sleep, memory) — refer to an experience in the wakeful state. The pramana, the cognition of the object, comes in regard to an object outside of us. Valid knowledge of cognition (pramana) is in regard to the knowledge outside of us.
Illusions (viparyaya) are with respect to objects outside of us. So we [experience] illusion in regard to an object which is external to us.
Similarly vikalpa, verbal delusion…. You come across illustrations in yoga books that are all in the external realm.
So, [the vrttis] — pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrti — all refer to a wakeful state. As I said, if the mind has to be restrained, then the best way [to do that] is to go for dreamless sleep. Have a good sleep. It is a comprehensive scheme to restrain of all those mano-vrittis [oscillations of mind].
2. [But,] the definition [of yoga] is not
mano vrtti nirodha yogah
restraint of the modifications of the mind
chitta vrtti nirodha yogah!
restraint of the modifications of the consciousness
These are all mano vrittis. Cognition, direct perception, inference, testimony, illusion, verbal delusion, nidra, smrti all take place on the… psycho-mental plane. These are all psycho-mental vrittis that manifest in the brain…. Yoga is not speaking about restraint of those [vrttis].
3. There is a simple logic here.
1) Do you want to restrain your mind and go to yoga? or,
2) Go to yoga and restrain your mind?
You [mistakenly] want to go to yoga and restrain your mind rather than restrain your mind and then go to yoga. Then, [in that case,] yoga restrains your mind. For you, yoga is the means to restrain your mind. So when you get into yoga, that means you must be in yoga to restrain your mind. The definition [doesn’t state] that you must [first] be in yoga and, then restrain [the mind]…, rather than [restraining] the mental modulations before going to yoga, or not having gone to yoga.
These vrttis of the internal realm [that Patanjali cites in the definition of yoga] are not the vrttis of the external realm. It’s not the perception of the external realm that would be restrained, as when you are fast asleep. Illusion (viparyaya) will be restrained when you are fast asleep. Verbal delusion (vikalpa) will be restrained when you are fast asleep. So psycho-mental vrittis are restrained when you are fast asleep.
Manas — External Tip of Internal Iceberg of Chitta +22.05
1. So when you get into yoga, you get into the internal world, which, in fact, is the internal universe. It is a microcosm. It is a universe inside. We have [both] the [universe] outside us, and we have a universe inside us. We are entering an internal universe when we start doing yoga. Then a unique restraint will take place…. So that is why it is chitta vrtti nirodha (restraint of consciousness) rather than mano vrtti nirodha (restraint of mind).
But all English translations will say that mental restraint is yoga because there is no word for chitta in English. A more proper word for chitta, at a given point of time, would be mind-stuff, the whole of the mind.
2. The mind is a peripheral aspect [of chitta]. It’s the tip of the iceberg and the chitta is the whole iceberg. How much of the iceberg is under water? And how much the tip is above the ocean? What we call the “tip of the iceberg,” is the nominal, minuscule part above the surface of the ocean…. So the psychological-mental mind refers to the tip of the mind-stuff, not really the mind. It is tip of our mind-stuff. The underlying chitta is huge.
Chitta vrtti nirodha means restraint of the entire mind-stuff, and not just restraint of the tip of the iceberg of chitta. There is a big difference between the mind and chitta.
3. Let me explain this with an example. We undergo many different weather conditions, climatic conditions. In summer the temperature soars to 45 degrees [Celsius] in India. In winter it dips down to 10 degrees…. That is a huge difference between the minimum temperature of winter and maximum temperature of summer…. So we know there is a huge, huge difference between the minimum temperature of winter and maximum temperature of summer.
It is said by the oceanographers that, if the average temperature of the ocean goes up by one degree we will be all [burned] to ashes…. And if the average temperature of the ocean goes down by one degree the entire creation on planet Earth — the land, even the water — will be frozen…. The ocean won’t be frozen by one degree, but the rest of the things will be frozen. So one degree of change in the temperature of the ocean… can cause a huge difference — total annihilation at both [ends of the spectrum]. Either side, there will be total annihilation.
[Although] the temperature on the planet can go up and down within a range of 20-50 degrees…, the average temperature of the ocean doesn’t [fluctuate as much]. So it is a huge thing for the average temperature of the ocean to go up or down by just one degree.
4. Chitta is like the ocean. The mind is like the terrain. Sometimes [an] angry mind goes to a boiling temperature, sometimes the mind goes to a frozen a condition. [Although] the mind can freeze… and boil, this does not happen to the ocean… [of chitta].
Chitta is like the ocean…. The mind can be tossing and turning, but little ups and downs, here and there, really don’t create any big [turmoil] in a whole of the mind-stuff (chitta).
5. And yoga speaks of chitta vrtti nirodha not mano vrtti nirodha. It does not refer to the psychological mind, empirical mind, or temporal mind. It refers to chitta.
So we get typical kinds of vrttis in the internal realm. Those vrttis have to be identified, and, then, as your yoga evolves towards becoming quintessential asana, becoming quintessential pranayama, there will be an enormous restraint, a significant restraint, taking place in the internal realm.
Once you’re through the gateway of asana and… pranayama, then you’re in the internal realm. Then you’ll be restraining the vrttis in the internal realm. We should be aware of those vrttis. What are those vrttis? So the vrttis in the internal realms are totally different.
External Vs. Internal Vrttis +29.46
1. I will give you another example. Suppose you are angry with someone. How does that manifest? You can be angry with your loved ones, your hated ones. You know how anger manifests differently — with known people, unknown people, your kith and kin related to you, not related to you, your friends, your allies, your aliens….
On the one hand, see what this anger is. You are angry with someone, you are angry because of someone, you are angry at someone…. On the other hand, if you are angry with yourself, the manifestation of the anger differs….
2. It is similar here, with [the components of pramana], pratyaksha anumana agama (direct perception, inference, authoritative testimony). [When] pramana viparyaya vikalpa vrttis refer to the external world, it is one kind of manifestation, function, process, and consequence…. The vrttis that come in the internal realms are different vrttis. So we must start identifying those vrttis [in the internal realm]. What are those vrttis? How are [they] vrttis? What is pramana there? What is the pramana vrtti in the internal realm. It is not like it is in the external realm.
3. “This is a rose, therefore I am knower of the rose,” is a valid perception [when] the rose is external to you. Now, here in the internal realm, the chitta vrttis are different. You don’t have an [external] object for the vritti to be formulated. So these are internal vrttis. So where is the pramana (valid cognition) in the internal realm? Where is any viparyaya (error) in the internal realm? Where is vikalpa (illusion) in the internal realm and where is nidra smrti (sleep, memory) in the internal realm? So therefore these chitta vrttis are totally different.
4. [How much] these chitta vrttis are restrained in your process of even doing asana depends on your degree of proficiency. Imagine what vrttis you would restrain [if you were] less proficient. If you were more proficient what vrittis would you restrain? So yoga speaks of restraining those [internal] vrttis, not the [external] vrttis of a wakeful state.
Basically, the you is in the internal realm…. You, and yours in you, are the objects. You, and yours in you, are the instruments. You, and yours in you are the subjective entity.
Like in any external chitta vrtti, the you is a subjective entity…, an objective entity, and… an instrumental entity. The three of them together help to turn out some vrtti in the nature of pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrti.
In the internal realm understand the unique condition [of pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrti….] — you, yours, and in you are manifesting in the form of objects of vrtti. [They are] the subjective entity in the vrtti, as well as instrumental entity in the vrtti. So we need to become familiar with this vrtti world inside us. We are familiar with the vrtti world outside us. We need to become aware of the vrtti world inside us and see how yoga will restrain those [vrttis], depending on our caliber…, proficiency, and… depth of penetration.
5. When you have penetrated, the restraint will be on the very inner…, internal plane. If you have not sufficiently penetrated, it will be more on the peripheral plane. So depth is important. And all these kinds of things will generate different kinds of chitta vrttis, like breath-set addressals, body-set addressals, and mind-set addressals.
Doing, staying, maintaining, getting settled, and quickly getting absorbed. Doing, learning, studying, experimenting, getting settled, getting absorbed will all be different vrttis.
6. Identify the vrttis in different planes for every phase. What are the vrttis in the doing phase? What are the vrttis in the staying phase? There will be difference between doing vrttis, maintaining vrttis, staying vrttis, penetrating vrttis, efficacious vrttis, settling down vrttis…, and absorbed-state vrttis.
Similarly, doing, learning, studying, understanding, analyzing, comprehending, experimenting, observing, then getting settled, then going for absorption will be different vrttis. And these vrttis are restrained in the process of asana. Do you understand? So it’s a unique realm of object, subject, and instrument. It is one matter going towards the realm of objectivity, going into the realm of instrumentality, and going into the realm of subjectivity.
You have entered a portal into a different vrtti world, a very fascinating vrtti world. You have entered the outer gate… of the portal. It is a fascinating kind of matter for analyzing, comprehending, and having a thought process on.
And the commenting act is so important here because that will help you crystallize all this. It will give you enormous, …and suitable, thought matter for meditativity.
Mano-vrtti Nirodha — Gateway to Essential Yoga +36.50
1. Yesterday [in Lesson 10] I made a passing mention that chitta vrtti nirodha [does not refer to] the vrttis of the external realm but vrttis of the internal realm. That is what… will be a more essential aspect of yoga than [during the] run up to yoga.
2. Quieten the mind in the run up to yoga. If the mind is turbulent, agitated, vexed, see that you manage it, which is all in the run up to yoga. So, in the run up to yoga, try to regulate, or restrain, or manage the psycho-mental mind. Until that [has been accomplished] you will not reach the portal…, the outer gate of yoga.
3. Once you enter the outer gate, you then have so many enclosures within. Each enclosure has different gates…, and different realms of vrttis. So understand how the definition of yoga has to be understood. Restraining this tormented mind is not yoga.
4. There are so many ways to restrain this tormented mind — swallow an energy pill, a pain killer, or any kind of drug, to overcome your body pain, your mental agony…. A psychiatrist can give you some drugs.
Why do you need this means of yoga? You have to manage the run up to yoga. In essential yoga these are different management, or restraints, of chitta vrttis.
So this is what I wanted to open out yesterday when I just made a passing reference to chitta vrtti nirodha — that vrttis in the internal realms are different.
 All these vrttis that you have construed — pramana viparyaya vikalpa nidra smrti (Correct knowledge, error, imagination, sleep, memory): PYS I.6Correct knowledge (pramana), erroneous knowledge (viparyaya), imagination (vikalpa), sleep (nidra), and memory (smrtayah) are the fivefold vrttis.
 if the mind has to be restrained, then the best way [to do that] is to go for dreamless sleep… to restrain of all those mano-vrittis [oscillations of mind]: See “Mano-vrtti Nirodha is Not Chitta-vrtti Nirodha +34.20,” Meditation is Not Dhyana 5-3-20
 Do you want to 1) restrain your mind and go to yoga? or, 2) Go to yoga and restrain your mind?: Prashant infers that mental restraint first is preferable to the converse, yoga first. Secondly, here restraint refers to manas (mind), not chitta. That reinforces point #1 that mental restraint is a prerequisite for yoga practice. Prashant will reiterate this with the subsequent assertion that although manas oscillates a lot, chitta oscillates very little by comparison. He will conclude this lesson with the statement that quieting the mind is the gateway to essential yoga. However, restraining the tormented mind is not yoga. (+36.50)
 proper word for chitta, at a given point of time, would be mind-stuff, the whole of the mind: Similarly, Dr. Arya has defined it as mind-field. [Pandit Usharbudh Arya, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Vol. 1, Himalayan Inst., Honesdale, Pa., 1986]
 It is similar here, with [the components of pramana] pratyaksha anumana agama (direct perception, inference, authoritative testimony): PYS I.7Direct perception (pratyaksha), correct inference (anumana) and authoritative testimony (agama) constitute pramana (correct knowledge derived from valid proof).
 Like in any external chitta vrtti, the you is a subjective entity…, an objective entity, and… an instrumental entity: The small-s self is an object that appears as a vrtti on the inner face of the buddhi, just like the metaphoric rose, or any other external vrtti..
 PYS I.6;Correct knowledge (pramana), erroneous knowledge (viparyaya), imagination (vikalpa), sleep (nidra), and memory (smrtayah) are the fivefold vrttis.
 Doing, staying, maintaining, getting settled and quickly getting absorbed. Doing, learning, studying, experimenting, getting settled, getting absorbed will all be different vrttis: See “Two Channels in Spinal Academy of Yoga +17.30,” in Virtue of Ahimsa in Asana 5-2-20
 Yesterday I made a passing mention that chitta vrtti nirodha [does not refer to] the vrttis of the external realm but vrttis of the internal realm: See “Mano-vrtti Nirodha is Not Chitta-vrtti Nirodha +34.20,” Meditation is Not Dhyana 5-3-20.