Aside

How to have a meditative space in the House

 
 
 

The environment and space in our house affects our inner state and it is quite helpful to create a meditative space in the house.

Few points which can help in creating a meditative environment in the house are:

  1. Do not clutter the house with unnecessary thing. Simply get rid of the stuff which is not required. Mind is going to make a lot of noise when you are going to discard anything, so better avoid the mind and be more conscious while doing this activity. 
  2. Try to create as much empty space as you can. The Meditation room or space should be ideally empty.
  3. Place a Buddha Statue or photographs of enlightened masters like Osho, J Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff, Ramana Maharshi etc in your rooms.
  4. Avoid televisions, newspaper and mobile phone as much as you can. 
  5. Keep the bedroom dark. Darker the bedroom is, more deeper will be the sleep.
  6. If possible, then keep a space dedicated only for meditation.
  7. Play devotional or meditation music from time to time.
  8. Light some fragrance or make use of aroma candles, or stuff like aura soma.
  9. Have weekly or monthly gathering of friends for silent sitting or for group meditation.
  10. Instead of reading newspaper its better to read a book on meditation by Osho or J Krishnamurti.
  11. Plant trees near your house or keep potted plants in your house. 
  12. Remember your spiritual master as much as you can.
  13. Before meditating remember your master and after the meditation share your love with existence.
  14. During the day try to be more aware in your activities. Do small activities with awareness and remember the master and buddha within as much as you can.
  15. Be regular in meditation. More we meditate in the house, more meditation vibes are created in that space.
  16. Avoid alcohol and non-vegetarian food.

Source :  /oshoteachings.blogspot.com/

Aside

The sAdhana chatuShTaya is described by Shankara in the vivekachUDAmaNi as follows:

Adau nityAnityavastuvivekaH parigaNyate |
ihAmutraphalabhOgavirAgasttadanantaram ||
shamAdiShaTkasampattiH mumukShutvamiti sphuTam || – Verse 19.

1. viveka
discrimination of Real from unreal.
Bhagawat Gita explains this in the 3th Chapter Skhetra-Skhetragnya Yoga. This is the first chapter in the third part of Gita i.e. Gnana Kand or Jnana Yoga

2. vairAgya
detachment or dispassion from sense objects .
It is also called as a state of mind in which there is absence of worldly desires (As said by Sri Ramana Maharshi in Who Am I).

3. shamAdi ShaTka sampatti (a collective group of six behavior traits).

a. shama
shama means mind-control.

b. dama
dama means keeping the body and the senses under control.

c. uparati
Neutralise likes and dislikes

d. titikShA
Remain neutral (stay alike or tolerate) in pros and cons of life.

e. shraddhA
Unwavering faith in yourself, the sacred scriptures or shAstra, God and Guru.

f. samAdhAna
Single pointed concentration. Or in other words, be content with Surrender to the God or self or fix your mind on Brahman.

4. mumukShutva
Burning desire for liberation

Aside

Who Am I (હું કોણ છું?)

If you cannot read the article, than copy paste into your word document: Font Arial Unicode MS required.

(Created by itrans scheme: to read more about itrans click the label itrans on the left panel)

પ્રશ્ન: સ્વામીજી, હું કોણ છું? મુક્તિ કેવી રીતે મળે?
ઉત્તર: ‘હું કોણ છું’ એનો સતત રીતે વિચાર કરવાથી અને એની શોધ કરવાથી તમારા સાચા સ્વરૂપને જાણી શકશો અને એ દ્વારા મુક્તિ મેળવશો.

પ્રશ્ન: હું કોણ છું?
ઉત્તર: વાસ્તવિક રીતે જોતાં શરીર, ઈન્દ્રિયોના વિભિન્ન વિષયો, પ્રાણ, મન અને એ બધાનો અનુભવ જેમાં નથી થતો તે સુષુપ્તિદશા પણ હું અથવા સાચું સ્વરૂપ નથી.

પ્રશ્ન: હું એમનામાંથી કશું ના હોઉં તો શું છું?
ઉત્તર: એ બધાને બાદ કરતાં જે વસ્તુ શેષ રહે છે તે જ ‘હું’ છે. એ જ ચેતના અથવા સદ્વસ્તુ છે.

પ્રશ્ન: એ ચૈતન્યનો સ્વભાવ કેવો છે?
ઉત્તર: એ સચ્ચિદાનંદ છે. ત્યાં અહંનો અલ્પ જેટલો અંશ પણ નથી રહેતો. એને મૌન અથવા આત્મા નામથી પણ ઓળખવામાં આવે છે. એકમાત્ર અસ્તિત્વ ધરાવનારી વસ્તુ એ જ છે. ભેદદ્રષ્ટિને લીધે જે જીવ, જગત ને ઈશ્વરને અલગ માનવામાં આવે છે તે તો અજ્ઞાનજન્ય આભાસમાત્ર છે. જીવ, જગત અને ઈશ્વર ત્રણે શિવસ્વરૂપ અથવા આત્મસ્વરૂપ છે અને સદ્વસ્તુથી અભિન્ન છે.

પ્રશ્ન: એ શિવસ્વરૂપ અથવા આત્માનો સાક્ષાત્કાર કેવી રીતે થઈ શકે?
ઉત્તર: બાહ્ય પદાર્થો અથવા દ્રશ્યનો નાશ થાય તો દ્રષ્ટાના વાસ્તવિક મૂળભૂત સત્ય સ્વરૂપનો સાક્ષાત્કાર થઈ શકે છે.

પ્રશ્ન: પદાર્થોને જ્યારે જોતા હોઈએ ત્યારે એનો સાક્ષાત્કાર ના કરી શકાય?
ઉત્તર: ના. કારણકે દ્રષ્ટા અને દ્રશ્ય રજ્જુ અને એની અંદર ભાસતા સર્પના જેવા છે. જ્યાંસુધી સર્પની ભ્રાંતિનો નાશ ના થાય ત્યાંસુધી કેવળ રજ્જુનું અસ્તિત્વ છે એવું માની જ ના શકાય.

પ્રશ્ન: બાહ્ય પદાર્થોનો અથવા દ્રશ્યનો નાશ ક્યારે થાય?
ઉત્તર: બધી જાતના વિચારો, ભાવો ને પ્રવૃત્તિઓનું કારણ મન શાંત થતાં બાહ્ય પદાર્થો કે દ્રશ્ય પણ દૂર થાય છે.

પ્રશ્ન: મનનું સ્વરૂપ કેવું છે?
ઉત્તર: મન વિચારોના સમૂહ સિવાય બીજું કશું જ નથી. એ એક જાતનીં શક્તિ છે. પદાર્થો, દ્રશ્ય કે જગતના રૂપમાં એ જ મૂર્તિમંત થાય છે. એ મન જ્યારે શિવસ્વરુપ આત્મામાં મળી જાય છે ત્યારે આત્માનો સાક્ષાત્કાર સહજ થાય છે. મન બહિર્મુખ બનીને કામ કરે છે ત્યારે જગત દેખાય છે અને આત્માનો અનુભવ નથી થતો.

પ્રશ્ન: મનને શાંત કરવાનો માર્ગ કયો?
ઉત્તર: આત્મવિચાર. ‘હું કોણ’ નો સતત રીતે વિચાર કરવાથી એનો લય થાય છે. એ પણ એક પ્રકારની માનસિક પ્રક્રિયા જ છે તોપણ એની મદદથી બીજા બધા જ બાહ્ય વિચારો શાંત થાય છે ને પછી આત્મસંશોધનનો એ જિજ્ઞાસાજન્ય વિચાર પણ શમી જાય છે. જેવી રીતે ચિતાને સળગાવનારો અંગાર ચિતાને તથા શબને સળગાવી, ભસ્મિભૂત કરીને નામશેષ બની જાય છે તેવી રીતે. તે પછી આત્મા અથવા સ્વરૂપના સાક્ષાત્કાર થાય છે. એ વખતે અહંવૃત્તિનો અંત આવે છે ને શ્વાસોશ્વાસ જેવી પ્રાણની પ્રવૃત્તિ પણ બંધ પડે છે. વ્યક્તિત્વ તથા શ્વાસોશ્વાસનું ઉદ્ભવસ્થાન એક જ છે. જે કાંઈ કરો તે અહંકારરહિત થઈને, ‘આ હું કરું છું’ એવી ભાવનાને છોડીને કરો. એ અવસ્થામાં તમારી પત્નીમાં પણ જગદંબાની ઝાખી કરી શકશો. આત્મામાં અહંભાવનું અર્પણ કરી દેવું એ જ સાચી ભક્તિ છે.

પ્રશ્ન: મનને શાંત કરવાની બીજી કોઈ પદ્ધતિઓ નથી શું?
ઉત્તર: ઉપર કહેલા આત્મવિચાર સિવાય બીજી કોઈ આદર્શ ને સચોટ પદ્ધતિ નથી લાગતી. બીજાં કોઈ સાધનોથી મનને શાંત કરવાથી એ શાંતિ થોડોક વખત ટકે છે ખરી, પરંતુ મન વળી પાછું જાગે છે ને પૂર્વવત્ પ્રવૃત્તિ કરવા માંડે છે.

પ્રશ્ન: આત્મરક્ષાની ને બીજી સુષુપ્ત ભાવના ને લાલસામાંથી ક્યારે મુક્તિ મળે?
ઉત્તર: જેમ જેમ અંતર્મુખ થતા જશો તેમ તેમ એ ફીકી પડતી જશે અને આખરે અદ્રશ્ય થશે.

પ્રશ્ન: અસંખ્ય જન્મોથી મનમા પડેલી વૃત્તિ ને વાસનાઓને નિર્મૂળ કરવાનું શક્ય છે ખરું?
ઉત્તર: એવી શંકાઓને પેદા જ ના થવા દો. દ્રઢ નિરધારપૂર્વક આત્મામાં ઊંડે ને ઊંડે ડૂબકી મારો, આત્મવિચારદ્વારા આત્માભિમુખ બનેલું મન આખરે શાંત થાય છે અને આત્મામાં મળી જાય છે. જ્યારે કોઈ શંકા ઉત્પન્ન થાય ત્યારે એના નિવારણ માટે કોશિશ કરવાને બદલે જેને શંકા થાય છે તેને જાણવાનો પ્રયાસ કરો.

પ્રશ્ન: આત્મવિચારનો આધાર ક્યાંલગી લેવો જોઈએ?
ઉત્તર: જ્યાંસુધી વાસનાઓ મનની અંદર રહીને વિચારો અથવા સંકલ્પવિકલ્પોની સૃષ્ટી કરતી હોય ત્યાંસુધી. શત્રુઓ જ્યાલગી કિલ્લાની અંદર હશેં ત્યાંલગી એમને બહાર આવવાની સંભાવના રહેવાની જ. એ એક પછી એક બહાર આવતાં હોય ત્યારે જ એમનો નાશ કરી નાખો તો છેવટે કિલ્લો તમારા અધિકારમાં આવી જવાનો. એવી રીતે વિચારો ઉત્પન્ન થાય ત્યારે ત્યારે દરેક વખતે એમને આત્મવિચારનો આધાર લઈને દૂર કરી દો. વિચારોનો એમના ઉદ્ભવસ્થાનમાં જ એવી રીતે નાશ કરવાની પ્રક્રિયાને વૈરાગ્ય કહે છે. આત્મવિચાર જ્યાંસુધી આત્મસાક્ષાત્કાર ના થાય ત્યાંસુધી આવશ્યક છે. પોતાના મૂળભૂત સત્ય સ્વરૂપનો સતત, અંતરાયરહિત વિચાર અત્યંત આવશ્યક છે.

પ્રશ્ન: આ સંસાર, એમાં જે કાંઈ થઈ રહ્યું છે તેની સાથે, ઈશ્વરની ઈચ્છાનું પરિણામ નથી? જો હોય તો ઈશ્વરે એવી ઈચ્છા શા માટે કરી?
ઉત્તર: ઈશ્વરને કોઈ પ્રયોજન નથી. એ કોઈપણ કર્મના બંધનથી નથી બંધાતા. સંસારની પ્રવૃત્તિઓનો પ્રભાવ એમના પર નથી પડતો. એમને સમજવા માટે સૂર્યનો વિચાર કરી જુઓ. સૂર્ય કોઈપણ ઇચ્છા, પ્રયોજન કે પ્રયત્ન વિના પ્રકાશે છે તોપણ એના પ્રકાશવામાત્રથી જ પૃથ્વી પર પૃથક્પૃથક્ પ્રવૃત્તિઓ થવા માંડે છે: એનાં કિરણોમાં રાખેલા કાચપર કિરણોનું કેન્દ્રિકરણ થતાં એમાંથી પાવક પેદાં થાય છે, કથળનાં દલ ખીલી ઊઠે છે, પાણીની વરાળ બને છે, અને પ્રત્યેક જીવ પોતાની પ્રવૃત્તિ કરે છે, પ્રવૃત્તિ ને સંભાળે છે, ને પ્રવૃત્તિનો પરિત્યાગ કરે છે. એ બધી પ્રવૃત્તિઓનો પ્રભાવ સૂર્યપર નથી પડતો. એ તો એના સ્વભાવ પ્રમાણે કાર્ય કરે છે, નિશ્ચિત નિયમો પ્રમાણે ર્તે છે; પ્રયોજનથી રહિત છે, ને સાક્ષીભાવમાં સ્થિત છે. ઈશ્વરના સંબંધમાં પણ એવું જ સમજી લેવાનું છે. એ બાબતમાં આકાશનું ઉદાહરણ પણ લઈ શકાય તેવું છે. એની અંદર પૃથ્વી, પાણી, પંવન અને અગ્નિ રહે છે. એના આધારે એમની પ્રવૃત્તિ થાય છે અને એમની અંદર પરિવર્તનો થયા કરે છે, તોપણ એમનામાંથી કોઈનીય અસર એની ઉપર નથી થતી. એ જ હકીકત ઈશ્વરને લાગુ પડે છે. જુદાજુદા જીવો જેને અધીન છે તે જન્મ, ધારણપોષણ, મરણ, ઉત્સર્ગ ને મુક્તિનાં કર્મોની પાછળ ઈશ્વરની કોઈયે ઇચ્છા કે પ્રયોજનવૃત્તિ કામ નથી કરતી. જીવો તો તે તે કર્મના રૂપમાં ઈશ્વરના નિયમોને અનુસરીને પોતાનાં પૂર્વકર્મોના ફળની જ પ્રાપ્તિ કરતા હોવાથી, એ ફળની જવાબદારી ઈશ્વરની નથી પણ એમની જ છે. ઈશ્વર કોઈપણ કર્મ કે કર્મફળથી નથી બંધાતા.
સૃષ્ટિ અત્યંત વિલક્ષણ છે. દેશ કે કાળની મર્યાદામાં વ્યક્તિ કે સમષ્ટિની સૃષ્ટિની દ્રષ્ટિએ, પ્રયોજન અને જવાબદારીના ખ્યાલો પૈદાં થાય છે. ઈશ્વર સૃષ્ટિથી પર હોવાથી એમને એવા ખ્યાલો લાગુ પાડવાનું બુદ્ધિસંગત અથવા અર્થપૂર્ણ નથી લાગતું. જવાબદારીનો ભાવ કોઈ બીજાનો વિચાર પેદા થયા પછી જ જાગી શકે છે. ઈશ્વર સૌમાં ને સર્વરૂપ છે એવું માની લેવામાં આવે તો એમના સિવાય અન્યનું અસ્તિત્વ રહેતું નથી, અને એટલા માટે એમની કોઈ જવાબદારી પણ નથી રહેતી.

ભગવાન શ્રી રમણ મહર્ષિ
. ॐ નમો: ભગવતે શ્રી રમણાય ॐ.

Aside
 

13 names of Surya – the Sun deity
ॐ मित्राय नमः Om Mitraaya Namah 
ॐ रवये नमः Om Ravaye Namah 
ॐ सूयार्य नमः Om Suryaaya Namah 
ॐ भानवे नमः Om Bhaanave Namah 
ॐ खगाय नमः Om Khagaaya Namah 
ॐ पूष्णे नमः Om Puushne Namah 
ॐ हिरण्यगर्भाय नमः Om Hiranyagarbhaaya Namah 
ॐ मरीचये नमः Om Mareechaye Namah 
ॐ आदित्याय नमः Om Aadityaaya Namah 
ॐ सवित्रे नमः Om Savitre Namah 
ॐ अर्काय नमः Om Arkaaya Namah 
ॐ भास्कराय नमः Om Bhaaskaraaya Namah 
ॐ श्रीसवितृसूर्यनारायणाय नमः Om Shree Savitru Suurya Naaraayanaaya

Aside

OM Mantra and 7 Levels of Consciousness
by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati 
Homepage 

This artcle is available in print:
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Seven Levels: The OM Mantra is a roadmap for sadhana, spiritual practices (written as either AUM or OM). It is not for the person who seeks only the shallow waters of spiritual life, but rather for those who strive to realize in direct experience the depth of the Absolute Reality. There are four main levels of consciousness outlined in the OM Mantra, along with three transition levels, which is a total of seven levels. Each of these is experienced on the inner journey of meditation and contemplation.

See also Seven Methods of Practicing OM Mantra

Among other meanings, Om Mantra symbolizes four levels and three transitions. The four levels of AUM Mantra are marked here, and the three transitions are the dotted lines.
(Scroll down or click to see Mandukya Upanishad on AUM)


7-minutes
Yoga Meditation Visualized: This 7-minute video summarizes the process of Yoga Meditation. It is based on several graphics similar to the “circles” graphic above, although it does not specifically address the Om Mantra as such.

Universal Realities: It is important to be aware of the fact that these levels of consciousness are realities that exist universally, regardless of whether or not one uses the OM Mantra or the visual OM symbol in any way. In either case, the underlying principles are extremely useful for all seekers in purifying or clearing the mind, and seeking the direct experience of deeper truths.

(AUM) Om Mantra and Seven Levels of Consciousness


Symbolism of the Oms in the Meditation hall at Abhyasa Ashram:

 

    • Oms on the printed cloth on the wall: Vaishvanara, the gross realm of the waking state and the conscious mind.
    • Shadow of the brass Om: Taijasa, the subtle realm of the dreaming state and the active unconscious mind.
    • Brass Om: Prajna, the causal plane, the deep dreamless sleep state and the latent unconscious, the domain of samskaras that are the driving force of karma or actions.
    • Lingam: Shiva lingam is the primary ground for manifestation. It is hiranyagarbha, literally the golden womb. On the inner journey it is experienced as the bindu that is pierced, transitioning to the realization of the Absolute Reality, Brahman, Shiva that is one and the same with Shakti (which is symbolized by the light, below).
    • Light: Turiya, the fourth state of pure consciousness, Atman, Shakti, which projects outward through the deep impressions of the causal (the brass Om), manifesting in/as the subtle (the shadow) and, in turn, in/as the gross (the Oms on the wall cloth).


     

    Contents of this article:
        Seven States of Consciousness 
        Direct Experience 
        Yoga Sutras and OM Mantra 
        OM Mantra and other Mantras 
        Practicing the OM Mantra 

    1. Waking / Conscious / Vaishvaanara / Gross / “A” of AUM 
    2. Transition / Unmani 
    3. Dreaming / Unconscious / Taijasa / Subtle / “U” of AUM 
    4. Transition / Aladani 
    5. Deep Sleep / Subconscious / Prajna / Causal / “M” of AUM 
    6. Samadhi 
    7. Turiya / Consciousness / Absolute / Silence after AUM 

        Mankukya Upanishad – 12 Verses on AUM

    See also these articles: 
    7 Methods with OM Mantra 
    Mandukya Upanishad on Om 
    How to use a mantra 
    Japa and Ajapa-Japa with mantra 
    Mantra, brain, and word 
    OM Mantra section of Yoga Sutras
    Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra 
    Six Schools of Indian Philosophy 
    Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy and Yoga Psychology 
    Kundalini Awakening 
    Levels and Dimensions of Consciousness 
    Soham mantra meditation 
    Bindu: Pinnacle of Yoga, Vedanta and Tantra 
    Yoga Nidra CD

    Audio Podcast
     The Secret of Shiva and Shakti in the Three Worlds

          top

    7 States of consciousness in OM Mantra 

    Seven states or levels of consciousness are described in this article:

    Three states of consciousness: Each of the three sounds of AUM Mantra (A, U, and M) symbolizes specific states of consciousness.

    Fourth state of consciousness: After those three parts of the OM Mantra, there is a Silence, the Fourth, which relates to consciousness or awareness itself.

    Three transition states: Between these four states of Consciousness there are three transition states.

    See also: The four main levels of Consciousness (A, U, M, and Silence of OM Mantra) are also described in the article Levels and Dimensions of Consciousness.

    These levels exist universally: It is important to be aware of the fact that these levels of consciousness are realities that exist universally, regardless of whether or not one uses the OM Mantra or the visual OM symbol in any way. In either case, the underlying principles are extremely useful for all seekers in purifying or clearing the mind, and seeking the direct experience of deeper truths.

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    Meaning of the symbol: Not only does the sound vibration of the AUM/OM represent the four levels of consciousness, so too does the visual symbol.

    • The lower curve represents the Gross, Conscious, Waking state level, called Vaishvanara. (A of OM Mantra)
    • The center curve represents the Subtle, Unconscious, and Dreaming level, called Taijasa. (U of OM Mantra)
    • The upper curve represents the Causal, Subconscious, and Deep Sleep level, called Prajna. (M of OM Mantra)
    • The dot, point, or bindu represents the fourth state, theabsolute consciousness, which encompasses, permeates, and is the other three, and is called Turiya. (Silence after A, U, and M of OM Mantra)
    • The arc below the dot symbolizes the separateness of this fourth state, standing above, though ever remaining part of the other three.  Piercing the bindu finally allows one to attain the highest experience, and this comes after following the process of Kundalini Awakening.
    Self-Realization & Yoga Meditation: Bindu: Pinnacle of the Three Streams of Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra See also the article:
    Bindu: Pinnacle of Yoga, Vedanta and Tantra

    You can print the following and cut on the dotted line to have a note 
    you can carry around for a while to memorize the parts of Om.

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra / Yoga & Self-Realization

    Other names for the four levels: Different texts and teachings might use different names for different characteristics at these four levels; for example, virat, hiranyagarbha, ishvara, and brahman, as well as vaishvanara, taijasa, prajna, and turiya.

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra and the Levels of Consciousness in Sanskrit

    Swami Rama wrote a profound book on Om Mantra and Mandukya Upanishad entitled “Enlightenment Without God” that has been out of print for many years (it is not “anti” God). Here is a link to adownload PDF file of this text that somebody sent me. (Or here)

           top

    Direct Experience

    Roadmap for direct experience: The Yogi does not use the information about these levels as mere intellectual fodder. Rather, the OM Mantra is a roadmap for sadhana, spiritual practices. It is not for the person who seeks only the shallow waters of spiritual life, but rather for those who strive to experience nothing less than the depth of the Absolute Reality in direct experience.

    7 methods of practice: See the article:
    OM Mantra and 7 Methods of Practice

    OM Mantra and Transpersonal Psychology: For insight about conceptually bridging the levels of consciousness outlined in the OM Mantra with the field of Transpersonal Psychology, there is an article relating to the Needs Hierarchy developed by Abraham Maslow: 
    Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy and Yoga Psychology

          top

    Yoga Sutras and OM Mantra

    Yoga Sutras

    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali suggests remembering the meaning of OM Mantra as a direct path to Self-realization. Remembering the sound vibration of AUM, along with a deep feeling for the meaning of what it represents, brings both the realization of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles that normally block that realization. (See Sutras 1.23-1.29)

           top

    OM Mantra and other Mantras

    It is important to know that OM Mantra is very often used in conjunction with other mantras, usually with the OM being the first or last sound in the whole mantra. Often these other mantras refer to a specific deity or name of God. Some practitioners consider the OM to literally refer to only one such name of God or deity. Still other practitioners believe the OM refers to some different God or deity. For those born into such religious cultures, this diversity of use of OM is well known, and does not cause confusion, while also being aware that there may be discourses or debates supporting one view or another.

    However, others who are not familiar with this will benefit by becoming aware that there are a variety of ways of using OM Mantra. This leaves it a matter of personal choice how the OM Mantra will be used. Regardless of how one uses the mantra, there is a universal truth that the vibration of OM will be experienced on the inner journey. In that sense, is not a mere belief or symbolic tool belonging to any one group or groups. Similarly, the existence of waking, dreaming, sleep, and that beyond (described below as represented by AUM) are also universal realities. In the information below, OM Mantra is presented as a means of contemplation and meditation, which pierces the three levels of reality and consciousness, revealing the fourth, which permeates the other three.

           top

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    Practicing the OM Mantra

    The OM Mantra (AUM Mantra; Pranava) is a widely recognized mantra. While the OM Mantra has a variety of meanings, one of its most significant uses is for Meditation and Contemplation in Yoga and Vedanta. The OM Mantra is recommended in the Yoga Sutras and the Mandukya Upanishad, as well as in many other teachings.

    Four major levels: When used in this way, the OM Mantra (AUM) has four major levels of meaning and experience to the Yogi.

    • Waking: First, is the Waking state, represented by the sound of “A” of the AUM Mantra, called Vaishvaanara.
    • Dreaming: Second, is the Dreaming state, represented by the sound of “U” of the AUM Mantra, called Taijasa.
    • Deep Sleep: Third, is the Deep Sleep state, represented by the sound of “M” of the AUM Mantra, called Prajna.
    • Turiya: Fourth, is the entire domain of that consciousness that permeates all of the other levels within which awareness does its dance, called Turiya(literally the “fourth”), represented by the Silence after the “A,” “U,” and “M”.

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra and the levels of Waking, Dreaming, Deep Sleep, and the Fourth State known as Turiya

    Three transition stages: Between these four states of consciousness, there are three transition stages called UnmaniAladani, and Samadhi.

    The Yogi wants to remember 
    the 4 parts
     of the mantra, 
    one after the other, 
    along with the meaning.

    Remember the four parts one after the other: Thus, in the use of the AUM Mantra, there are four levels of awareness that the Yogi wants to cultivate. The Yogi wants to remember the four parts of the AUM Mantra internally, one after the other, through the levels of consciousness. (The other three stages are also there, but these four are the main focus of the Yogi in using the OM Mantra).

    Remain aware of the meanings: With practice, it gradually becomes easier for one to maintain awareness of these meanings as attention moves through the parts of the AUM Mantra (The A, U, M, and Silence of OM Mantra). Over time, that awareness brings increasing insight of the true nature of these levels of consciousness. Eventually one moves to the direct experience of the Absolute Reality, that consciousness which permeates All (Silence after A, U, and M of OM Mantra). This is the state of Self-realization.

    Three functions are at the same level: One of the profound insights that one begins to get is the way in which 1) the levels of personal consciousness, 2) the stages of the mental process, and 3) the levels of the universe parallel one another. One comes to see that these three are functioning at the same levels of reality, which are none other than the levels of consciousness themselves. It is approximately like this:

    • Waking = Conscious = Gross = Vaishvaanara (A of OM Mantra)
    • Dreaming = Unconscious = Subtle = Taijasa (U of OM Mantra)
    • Deep Sleep = Subconscious = Causal = Prajna (M of OM Mantra)
    • Turiya = Consciousness Itself, permeating and being All (Silence of OM Mantra)

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra and the Gross, Subtle, and Causal Planes

    In the actual practice with AUM Mantra (OM Mantra):

    • When awareness is on the “A” of the OM Mantra, you cultivate and train yourself to have a simultaneous awareness of:
      • the Waking state,
      • the Conscious level of mental processing, and
      • the Gross realm of the universe
      • (Waking, Conscious, and Gross are all at the same level, symbolized by “A” of the OM Mantra).
    • When awareness is on the “U” of the OM mantra, you cultivate and train yourself to have a simultaneous awareness of:

      • the Dreaming state,
      • the Active Unconscious processing level of the mind, and
      • the Subtle realm of the universe
      • (Dreaming, Unconscious, and Subtle are all at the same level, symbolized by U of the OM Mantra).
    • When awareness is on “M” of the OM Mantra, you cultivate and train yourself to have a simultaneous awareness of:

      • the Deep Sleep state,
      • the Subconscious (latent, dormant, inactive, storage) aspects of mind (the Samskaras from where the impetus for Karma, or action springs forth), and
      • the Causal realm, out of which arises the Subtle and Gross universe
      • (Deep Sleep, Subconscious, and Causal are all at the same level, symbolized by M of the OM Mantra).
    • When awareness is on the Silence after the A, the U, and the M of the OM Mantra, you cultivate and train yourself to have an awareness of the consciousness:

      • that permeates all of the three personal levels (Waking, Dreaming, Deep Sleep),
      • that permeates all of the Subtle realm, and
      • that also permeates all of the Causal realm
      • (Consciousness permeates, is the foundation of, and in fact, “is” the whole of the levels of the A, the U, and the M levels of the OM Mantra).

    One of the other elegant and awesome insights is the way in which our own personality, mental and emotional processes operate:

    • Latent impressions begin to stir: We come to see, in direct experience of Yoga Meditation and Contemplation, how it is that there are latent impressions in the deep unconscious (the place of Deep Sleep; M of OM Mantra), and how it is that consciousness drifts over these latent impressions, causing them to stir from the Causal level (M of OM Mantra).

    • These impressions arise into internal action: Then we see the way these impressions then arise into action internally in the Unconscious (the Active Unconscious associated with unseen mental processes and the Dreaming Sleep level; U of OM Mantra), forming many invisible thought processes, normally only experienced in dreams (this is similar to what psychology calls “primary process”).

    • These stirrings come forward into the conscious: Then we see the intriguing way in which those stirrings in the Unconscious (U of OM Mantra) come forward into the Conscious, Waking state of reality (A of OM Mantra), along with the way in which the indriyas, the senses (jnanendriyas of smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, and hearing) and means of expression (karmendriyas of eliminating, procreating, moving, grasping, and speaking) come into play so as to relate to the external world (A of OM Mantra).

    • We can observe the four functions of mind: We come to see how thefour functions of mind interact within these levels (A, U, and M of OM Mantra), including Manas (sensory-motor mind), Chitta (storehouse of impressions), Ahamkara (I-maker or ego), and Buddhi (which knows, decides, judges, and discriminates).

    • Seeing all the levels permeated by consciousness: Most importantly, we come to see the way in which all of these levels are both permeated by, and are the manifestation of consciousness itself:

      • In Waking state (A of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
      • In Dreaming state (U of OM Mantra) there is consciousness.
      • In Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
      • In active thinking (A of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
      • In unconscious process (U of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
      • In the latent storehouse (M of OM Mantra), there is consciousness.
    • Who we really are, is the consciousness itself: We come to see that who we really are, is the consciousness itself, not the forms which arise. We declare with conviction, what the sages have said all along, “I am not my thoughts! I am That I Am!”

    AUM is like the three parts of a river: When recalling these levels of “A,” “U,” “M,” and Silence during practice of the OM Mantra, it is useful to remember the metaphor of a river, which has three parts:

    1. Bed: The river bed of stones (like the latent, Subconscious or Deep Sleep level and its impressions, symbolized by the “M” of the OM Mantra),

    2. Flow: The flowing part (like the Active Unconscious, or Dreaming level, symbolized by the “U” of the OM Mantra), and

    3. Surface: The surface of the river (like the Conscious, Waking level, symbolized by the “A” of the OM Mantra).

    Consciousness at three levels: That reality or presence of existence itself, that is in the three levels of bed of the river, flow of the river, and surface of the river, is like the consciousness that permeates the three levels of Waking (A of OM Mantra), Dreaming (U of OM Mantra), and Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra). Those three levels are also the Conscious (A of OM Mantra), Active Unconscious (U of OM Mantra), and Latent Unconscious or Subconscious (M of OM Mantra), as well as the Gross (A of OM Mantra), Subtle (U of OM Mantra), and Causal (M of OM Mantra) levels of reality.

    • Subconscious: Our Subconscious wants, wishes, desires, attractions, and aversions (samskaras) are like those stones that form the bed of the river (M of OM Mantra).

    • Unconscious: When consciousness moves across them, they come to life in the the flow of the Unconscious (U of OM Mantra), like the flow of the river, and

    • Conscious: Some burst forth into the Conscious mind (A of OM Mantra), resulting in actions, speech, and conscious thoughts, like the action on the surface of the river.

    Going beyond the three levels: Through practice, one gradually attains the ability to go beyond, or deeper than the various levels and thinking processes, to the direct experience of the source of the consciousness, symbolized by the Silence after the “A,” “U,”  “M,” of the OM Mantra.

    The practice begins simply, is practiced sincerely and faithfully, and expands over time, with ever increasing insights about the underlying truths contained in, and suggested by the OM Mantra. Meditation on OM (AUM) as an object of concentration, and Contemplation on its meaning work together in guiding one towards Self-realization.

    Sri YantraTripura: Tri means three, and pura means city.Tripura is the consciousness that operates in the three cities of Waking (A of OM Mantra), Dreaming (U of OM Mantra), and Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra), as well as the Conscious (A of OM Mantra), Unconscious (U of OM Mantra), and Subconscious (M of OM Mantra) aspects of mind. Sometimes conceptualized as the divine feminine (Shakti), compared to the divine masculine (Shiva), she permeates the three cities of the Gross world (A of OM Mantra), the Subtle plane (U of OM Mantra), and the Causal reality (M of OM Mantra). Tripura also permeates the many other trinities such as the beingness inherent in past, present and future.

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra and the one who lives in the three cities, known as Tripura.

    This is a Tantric rendering of the three levels of consciousness mapped out by the OM Mantra symbol, and its levels of Vaishvanara (A of OM Mantra), Taijasa (U of OM Mantra), and Prajna (M of OM Mantra). Dedication, devotion, love, and surrender into this creative source or divine Mother is one of the finest aspects of Tantra as a direct route to Realization. Some conceptualize Tripura as an anthropomorphic deity, while the subtler practices are directed towards Tripura as formless, that fourth state beyond the other three cities (A, U, and M of OM Mantra). The Bindu of Sri Yantra is the symbol of this highest transcendent Reality (Silence of OM Mantra). The quality of the three cities is an aspect of OM Mantra,Gayatri Mantra, and Mahamrityunjaya Mantra.

    See also the articles:
    Bindu: The Final Convergence 
    Kundalini Rising to Crown Chakra 

    Explanations of the 7 levels of consciousness: Below are some explanations of each of the seven levels of consciousness mapped out in OM Mantra. As you go through the levels of the OM Mantra described below, it is best to remember that the key levels for practice are awareness of the four levels of consciousness related to “A,” “U,”  “M,” and the fourth level of Silence.

    [Note: It is very useful to remember that, when describing or reading about subtle levels of consciousness, words are inadequate, and can easily seem to be in conflict with one another, as one wrestles with varying terminology, or with explanations from one or another writer. Ultimately, it is direct experience through repeated practice, without a break, over a long time that will unravel the meaning of the explanations and bring the true insights.]

           top

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    1. Waking / Conscious / 
    Vaishvaanara / Gross / “A” of AUM Mantra

    “A” represents Waking: The Waking state of consciousness is represented by the “A” of the AUM Mantra. The name of this level of consciousness isVaishvaanara. The Waking state (A of OM Mantra) is experienced by the individual person. In the Waking state of consciousness (A of OM Mantra) there are actions, speech, and thoughts of which we are “consciously” aware. The unconscious processes in the deeper levels (U and M of OM Mantra) are also there, but just not normally noticed.

    Microcosm and macrocosm of Waking: If the individual person is the microcosm, then the whole of the manifest universe is the macrocosm. The “A” of AUM Mantra represents not only the individual Waking state of consciousness, but also the entire Gross realm. The individual state of Waking consciousness and the Gross realm are all operating at the same level of consciousness (both are “in the world”).

    The “A” bursts forth: When using AUM as a mantra, notice how the “A” bursts forth in an instant (whether said aloud, or thought of internally). You could say “Aaaaaaa…,” in a drawn out way, but the “A” itself has a very brief, instantaneous bursting forth quality to it. The sound arises quickly, in a flash, from out of the silence. When using the OM Mantra, whether aloud or internally, it is useful to allow yourself to be aware of this bursting forth quality of thoughts, images, or impressions. All of these arise in a moment from the Subtler place within (U and M of OM Mantra).

    Three types of awareness with “A”: In the practice of remembering the AUM Mantra, when awareness is on “A” of the OM Mantra, you cultivate and train yourself to have a simultaneous awareness of:

    • the Waking state,
    • the Conscious level of mental and emotional processing, and
    • the Gross realm of the universe.

    The awareness of these three operating at the same level of reality is allowed to become clearer through practice over time.

    Observing the “A” come forward: To observe the way the “A” comes forward when remembering the OM Mantra is to observe the way our whole process of thoughts, actions, and speech arises. This can be extremely useful to understand.

           top

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    2. Unmani / Transition 
    between A and U of OM Mantra

    Transition between Waking and Dreaming: There is a transition stage between Waking (A of OM Mantra) and Dreaming (U of OM Mantra) states (or between Conscious and Unconscious states). The name of this transition stage of consciousness is UnmaniUnmani does not just refer to the personal experience between Waking and Dreaming. Rather, it is the name of that transition level of consciousness itself. (Like many words, the word Unmani is used in different ways. In other contexts, it is also used to mean Samadhi or Turiya.)

    We have all experienced this transition: We have all experienced this pleasant transition at times when about to awaken after a good sleep, and possibly when we are “day dreaming”. In this state, you have left the Dreaming world (U of OM Mantra), but have not yet fully come into the Waking (A of OM Mantra), or external world. You might be lying there pleasantly, not remembering your name, who you are, where you are, and not really caring about these things. But you are also not asleep having any dreams.

    Increasing awareness of the transitions: When using the OM Mantra for Yoga Meditation and Contemplation, the focus is mostly on the three states of Waking (A of OM Mantra), Dreaming (U of OM Mantra), and Sleep (M of OM Mantra), which are also called the Gross, Subtle, and Causal. However, as it is practiced, there also will be a natural, increasing awareness of the transition phases as well. It will become clearer how it is that conscious (A of OM Mantra) thoughts, speech, and actions are transitioning from their underlying, mostly unconscious (U and M of OM Mantra) thought and emotional processes.

    Don’t confuse this transition with Meditation: This very pleasant state is often confused with Meditation. Meditation is done in the Waking state (A of OM Mantra), in which one is full awake and alert. Then, gradually the veil is opened to allow the deeper states or levels (U of OM Mantra) to come forward into the Conscious, Waking state of awareness (A of OM Mantra).

    Parallels with science: In relation to the Gross world (A of OM Mantra), it is interesting to note the parallels between the transition between Unconscious and Conscious thought patterns, and the way the scientists describe the coming forth of the manifest universe as a “big bang”. Possibly this too is a form of the coming forth of the Subtle (U of OM Mantra), transitioning into the Gross (A of OM Mantra).

           top

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    3. Dreaming / Unconscious / 
    Taijasa / Subtle / “U” of AUM Mantra

    “U” represents Dreaming: The Dreaming state of consciousness is represented by the “U” of the AUM Mantra. The name of this level of consciousness isTaijasa(U of OM Mantra). Taijasa does not just mean dreaming. Rather, it is the name of that level of consciousness in which dreaming occurs (U of OM Mantra).

    Mind working out its desires: The Dreaming state (U of OM Mantra) is a level where the mind can work out its unfulfilled wants, wishes, desires, attractions, and aversions not allowed to play out in the external world (A of OM Mantra). Both Yogis and psychologists speak of this as a useful process.

    Uncoloring thought patterns: However, the Yogi will go further in dealing with the underlying deep impressions (Samskaras) that lead to actions (Karmas). The Yogi wants to turn those colored (klishta) thought patterns uncolored (aklishta) thought patterns so that they no longer need to arise and cause disturbance, whether causing that disturbance in the Waking (A of OM Mantra) or Dreaming (U of OM Mantra) states of consciousness (See also the article on Klishta and Aklishta Thoughts). It is for this reason that the Yogi gradually and naturally needs less sleep; there are fewer colored (klishta) unconscious thought patterns needing to play out. (See Yoga Sutras 1.52.1-2.9, and 2.10-2.11 on coloring and uncoloring)

    Microcosm and macrocosm of Dreaming: The counterpart of the personal Dream world (U of OM Mantra) is the entire Subtle, psychic, occult, or astral plane of reality (also U of OM Mantra). One is the microcosm, while the other is the macrocosm.

    Lifting the veil: As one progresses in Yoga Meditation, opening to the Unconscious (U of OM Mantra) begins. One stays in the Waking state (A of OM Mantra), but gradually lifts the veil, opens the curtain, so that the Unconscious (U of OM Mantra) begins to come forward. What comes is that which was normally only accessible in the Dreaming state (U of OM Mantra).

    Intentionally letting the thoughts come: It is in this field of observation that the Yogi does the Meditation of remaining one-pointed by letting go of the thought patterns arising. “Let them come, and let them go,” is the message the Yogi says to the mind, as Non-Attachment (Vairagya) becomes a reality, not just an act done in the external world. (See Yoga Sutras 1.12-1.16 on non-attachment)

    The highest therapy: Gradually, the intensity of the coloring attenuates, eventually allowing the thought pattern to remain in latent, seed form (until it is dispensed with entirely). It is because of this process of attenuating that the Yogi says that Yoga Meditation is the highest of all therapies. (See Yoga Sutra 2.4 on attenuation)

    The coloring (klishta) gradually attenuates 

    Taijasa is not the “spiritual” realm: This level of Taijasa (U of OM Mantra) has often been confused as being the “spiritual” realm, failing to note that it is only the second of four levels of consciousness in AUM Mantra (or third of the seven). If one is not familiar with this, it can seem that there are only two realms (a Gross and Spiritual) with a Transition between them. One can easily get caught in a trap of pursuing the actions, beings, and objects of the Subtle realm (U of OM Mantra), not recognizing that they are merely a level to move through, not a place to go and stay. Journeys in these subtle realms (U of OM Mantra) are no more useful in the journey of Self-realization than journeys to a thousand cities in our external world (A of OM Mantra), though some such journeying is sometimes needed so as to learn the lesson that the journeying is not needed. The articleRealization Beyond the Gross and Subtle describes how it can seem that there are only two levels of Gross and Subtler.

    Seeking the Subtle is a distraction: Patanjali, codifier of Yoga science describes many siddhis (powers) that come to the Yogi through practices. Some say that the Yogi is seeking these powers intentionally. However, Patanjali actually mentions these on the foundation of Non-Attachment (Vairagya) and Discrimination (Viveka), such that the seeker will abandon these powers when they come (See Yoga Sutra 3.38). In other words, seeking of the breadth of the Subtle realm (U of OM Mantra) is a distraction on the journey to enlightenment; with Discriminative Wisdom and Non-Attachment, one is better off to let go of these allurements.

    Witnessing and going beyond: At the same time that the Yogi observes and lets go of the Subtle realm (U of OM Mantra), there is also a beauty in witnessingas one moves forward in the journey. We can surely enjoy the scenery along the way, though it may be best, the Yogis remind us, to move on to the Realization of the Absolute, which is not subject to death, decay, or decomposition.

    Awareness of the transition: In the practice of remembering the OM Mantra, one allows the awareness and feeling associated with the “A” to transition into the awareness and feeling associated with the “U”.

    Three types of awareness with “U”: In the practice of remembering the AUM Mantra, when awareness is on “U” of the OM Mantra, you cultivate and train yourself to have a simultaneous awareness of:

    • the Dreaming state,
    • the Unconscious processing level of the mind, and
    • the Subtle realm of the universe (Dreaming, Unconscious, and Subtle are all at the same level). 

    The awareness of these three operating at the same level of reality (U of OM Mantra) is allowed to become clearer through practice over time.

    Forming the sound of “U”: The actual sound is not like the letter “A” and the letter “U,” but is more like “AOOUUUUU….” There is “Ah,” followed by “UUUUU…” (as in shOE). Then there is “MMMMM….” leading to Silence.

           top

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    4. Aladani / Transition 
    between U and M of OM Mantra

    Transition between Dreaming and Deep Sleep: There is a transition stage between Dreaming (U of OM Mantra) and Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra) states. The name of this transition stage of consciousness is AladaniAladani does not just refer to the personal experience between Dreaming (U of OM Mantra) and Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra). Rather, it is the name of that transition level of consciousness itself.

    This transition is not normally experienced consciously: This is a state that one normally does not experience consciously. This state is very subtle. It is a transition (as is Unmani, between Waking and Dreaming, as described above), but is the transition whereby the latent, formless facts or impressions start to stir, and end up taking form in the Unconscious mind (U of OM Mantra), that part normally only accessed when one is having dreams while in the Dream state of sleep (U of OM Mantra).

    One may sometimes consciously experience the transition between Dreaming (U of OM Mantra) and Waking (A of OM Mantra), either while in bed at sleeping time or at Meditation time. This might be experienced as very beautiful or very horrifying, depending on the nature of the thought patterns. However, the transition atAladani is very different from the Waking (A of OM Mantra) to Dreaming (U of OM Mantra) transition.

    Thoughts in their formless form: Here, in the Aladani transition, the thought patterns that are in their unmanifestformlesslatent form start to stir. This is literally the beginnings of the enlivening of latent Samskaras, the source of our Karma (the word Karma literally means “actions”). It is a process that one is not normally conscious of. Once again, it is very important to note that this is not the same as the process whereby Unconscious active mental process springs forward through Unmani into the Waking or Conscious state; this is happening at a deeper level.

    Beyond the Gross and Subtle: As attractive as the Gross and Subtle realm can be, these levels beyond Taijasa (the Dream State or Subtle realm) can be even more alluring and distracting. As one touches on this transition phase from which the Subtle realm and Subtle thoughts are born, one starts to see the way in which both the subtle and material realm are manifested and can be manipulated.

    Aladani and Aladin’s lamp: Notice the similarity between the names of the level of consciousness called Aladani and the story of Aladin’s lamp, wherein there was a genie. The genie was in latent form, but by rubbing the lamp, a transition process begins whereby the genie comes forth to fulfill any wishes. Between the stage of the genie being inside the lamp, and being fully formed, the transition of the genie is that of smoke that changes and solidifies into form.

    Moving past this transition level: For one truly on the path of Self-realization, this is a level to be acknowledged and moved past, allowing the stirrings to fall back to rest so that the Absolute can be experienced.

           top

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    5. Deep Sleep / Subconscious / 
    Prajna / Causal / “M” of AUM Mantra

    “M” represents Deep Sleep: The Deep Sleep state of consciousness is represented by the “M” of the AUM Mantra. The name of this level of consciousness is PrajnaPrajna does not just mean Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra). Rather, it is the name of that level of consciousness in which one experiences Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra).

    Impressions are stored in their latent form: The Deep Sleep state (M of OM Mantra) is the level where deep impressions are stored in their latent form. It contains the roots of our habit patterns, the Samskaras that are the driving force behind Karma (actions). Those wants, wishes, desires, attractions, and aversions that play themselves out in dreams (U of OM Mantra), or turn into actions and speech in the external world (A of OM Mantra) have their root in this level of consciousness. Those impressions are like seeds, lying there waiting for water and fertilizer to awaken them, so they may grow in the fields of Dreaming (U of OM Mantra) or Waking (A of OM Mantra).

    Prajna is supreme knowledge: “Pra” means “Supreme” and “Jna” comes from “Jnana,” which means “Knowledge”. Thus, Prajna (M of OM Mantra) is the level of consciousness that is of Supreme Knowledge (M of OM Mantra). How odd it is, that the domain of Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra), where there seems to be nothing going on, is called the place of Supreme Knowledge.

    Prior to the creation of thoughts and emotions: However, Prajna (OM of OM Mantra) is the place, the level that is deeper than, or prior to the creation of thoughts and emotions, whether in the Dream (Unconscious; U of OM Mantra) level or the Waking (Conscious; A of OM Mantra) level.

    Prior to the manifestation of Gross and Subtle: It is also the domain that isdeeper thanor prior to creation or manifestation (M of OM Mantra) of the objects and activities within both the Subtle (U of OM Mantra) and Gross (A of OM Mantra) realms. (The phrase “prior to” is not meaning in the sense of time. Rather, it is that out of which the next thing emerges. A metaphor sometimes used is the way that a pot comes out of clay. Here, the clay is always there. Out of the clay emerges the pot, and although the clay never goes away, the pot will go away, and merge back into the clay from which it came.)

    Infinite library of wisdom: One who begins to gain access to this Prajna level (M of OM Mantra) also begins to gain access to what has been called the Infinite Library of Wisdom. This means direct experience of knowing, not merely from some form of contact with the Subtle realm (U of OM Mantra), but with the level out of which that Subtle realm arises.

    Storage and altering of samskaras: In this level of Prajna (the level of Deep Sleep; M of OM Mantra) is the storage of the formless, latent thought patterns (formless forms) called Samskaras that drive Karma, or action (A of OM Mantra). If one can gain access to the Samskaras (M of OM Mantra) while they are in this latent form, they can be more readily altered such a way that they lose their potency.

    Making samskaras mere memories: Then, having lost their power (or reduced it substantially), the deep habit patterns, or Samskaras (M of OM Mantra), can no longer bind one to what would otherwise automatically drive actions, speech, and thoughts. Now, those deep impressions (M of OM Mantra) have become mere memories with little or no power. It is like a rope that before could bind, but that has now been burned. Though maybe still having the shape of a rope, it has lost its ability to bind. (This process is definitely not one of psychological suppression or repression.)

    Gaining direct access to the samskaras: There are a variety of techniques that professional and lay people use at the Waking level (A of OM Mantra) to indirectly affect changes in these deep impressions. Some of these can be very useful to spiritual aspirants in their journey. However, the Yogis want directaccess to these deep impressions (M of OM Mantra) so that they can choosetheir own deep habit patterns. In this way, the Yogi gradually becomes a master over the Samskaras (M of OM Mantra) leading to his or her own thoughts, speech, and actions.

    Burning away the colorings: For the Yogi, this is a process of dealing with the roots of habits directly, through Yoga Meditation, Contemplation, and Yoga Nidra(described below). While the Yogi definitely cultivates the creation of new habit patterns, it is  not merely pasting on another layer of habits on the top of the old, whereby one is left with inner conflict between the old and the new habits or Samskaras (that can play out unconsciously into actions and speech, as well as inner turmoil). The Yogi wants to attenuate and then burn away the colorings of fears, aversions, attractions, egoism, and spiritual ignorance (M of OM Mantra). 

    Microcosm and macrocosm of Deep Sleep: These personal latent impressions or Samskaras are the microcosm, while the macrocosm is the Causal plane (M of OM Mantra) from which creation of the entire Subtle (U of OM Mantra) and and Gross (A of OM Mantra) universe emerges. This is why it is called the “Causal” realm or level of reality (M of OM Mantra). Those with great access to this level are sometimes revered, although even this attainment is short of the Self-realization that comes with the realization of Turiya, the Absolute Reality (Silent aspect of OM Mantra). The Yogis suggest that the aspirant turn away even from the allurement of the offer of such creative powers, and instead walk in the pursuit of the Highest Realization.

    Three types of awareness with “M”: In the practice of remembering the AUM Mantra, when awareness is on “M,” you cultivate and train yourself to have awareness of:

    • the Deep Sleep state,
    • the Subconscious (latent, dormant, inactive, storage) aspects of mind (from where the impetus for Karma, or actions springs forth), and
    • the Causal realm, out of which arises the Subtle and Gross universe (they are all at the same level).

    The awareness of these three operating at the same level of reality (M of OM Mantra) is allowed to become clearer through practice over time.

    Prajna and Yoga Nidra: This level of Deep Sleep (M of OM Mantra), or Prajna, is the level at which Yoga Nidra, or Yogic Sleep is directed (Some incorrectly believe that Yoga Nidra is directed towards the transition level of Unmani, #2 above. That is only an early experience on the way to true Yoga Nidra).

    In Yoga Meditation and Contemplation, one remains in the Conscious, Waking state (A of OM Mantra), and gradually allows that Waking state to expandthrough the other states that are normally unconscious. However, in Yoga Nidraone leaves the Waking state, descends to the Deep Sleep state(M of OM Mantra), and yet, paradoxically, brings along Waking consciousness.

    Reducing samskaras through Yoga NidraYoga Nidra is a state which allows one to experience thought patterns directly in their latent, hidden, or formless forms, and thus be able to reduce their power to play out due to habit. The phenomena itself of reducing the power of the Samskaras comes about naturally through the deep process of introspection during Yoga Nidra. That level of consciousness is the M of OM Mantra.

           top

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    6. Samadhi / Deep Absorption

    Beyond Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep: Beyond, or below Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep (the A, U, and M of OM Mantra) is the state of deep absorption, that is the stage to which one’s Meditation practice next leads. It is called Samadhi.

    Many types of Samadhi: There are many forms of Samadhi. An even cursory review of the texts will reveal dozens of different types. Mostly, these differences have to do with the nature of the object on which one was meditating before dropping into the state of Samadhi with that object.

    Meditation on Gross or Subtle: The Object on which one is meditating (and then enters Samadhi) may be Gross or Subtle. A simple example will help. If one is internally meditating on the image of a red rose, that object is a Gross object (the A of OM Mantra). Meditation may shift away from the red flower to the red color alone, the “redness”. However, even that is still a Gross object of sorts. However, if attention shifts to light itself, or to the ability to see light, those are subtler (the U of OM Mantra). If attention shifts deeper to the observer who is doing the observing, or to the blissful feeling that comes from the absorption, then these are still subtler. However, in any case there is still an “object,” although that object may be extremely subtle.

    Similarly, Meditation on a spiritual or religious object will also move through levels of experience, from Gross to Subtle, to Subtler, and to Subtle-most (the A, U, and M of OM Mantra). Eventually the inward shifting of attention reveals the essence of the object of Meditation and Samadhi.

    Observer, observing, and observed collapse into one: In Meditation on an object, whether Gross or Subtle, there are three parts: 1) An Observer, 2) A Process of Observing, and 3) The Object being observed. With Samadhi, it is as if these three parts collapse into only one. There is no longer an observer observing the observed; rather, there seems to be only the object. It is as if the observer and the process of observing have become absorbed into the object, such that object is the only thing left.

    Samadhi with, or without form: There are two general categories of Samadhi. One is Samadhi “with form” or “with object” (of which there are many types of gross or subtle objects, and thus many types of Samadhi). During Meditation, attention was directed towards this form or object, and in Samadhi, the attention becomes absorbed into that form or object.

    The other category is Samadhi “without form” or “without object,” in which there is attention that is not directed towards any form or object (since it is without any object or form, there is not the diversity of types of Samadhi, as is the case with Samadhi on form or object).

    In both categories of Samadhi, the attention stance is similar. The difference is that in the case of objectless or formless Samadhi, there is no object. The stance of attention is still there, but the object is not. It is somewhat as if duringSamadhi with form, one had simply forgotten the object, and thus came into objectless Samadhi.

    Cultivating Practice and Non-attachment: For one who does not get trapped by the activity of the Gross world, the Subtle realm, or even the stirrings of the formless Causal level, then the state of absorption called Samadhi is within reach. Attaining Samadhi rests on two foundation principles, Practice and Non-Attachment, Abhyasa and Vairagya.

           top

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra

    7. Turiya / Consciousness / 
    Absolute / Silence after AUM

    Silence represents the permeating consciousness: After the “A,” the “U,” and the “M” of the OM Mantra there is Silence that is representative of the consciousness that permeates, and is all of the other levels. The name of this level of consciousness is Turiya. (All other mantras merge into the vibration of OM, and in turn, to this Silence.)

    Turiya means “the fourth”Turiya literally means “the fourth,” and represents that consciousness which permeates, observes, and is the other three levels. To call Turiya a “level” is not really accurate, since it is always, in fact, witness of, and at one with, the other states. 

    Standing on the roof of the building: From the vantage point of Turiya, one sees the entire panorama of the play of the levels of consciousness. It has been likened to standing on the roof of a three floor building, where the first three floors are the Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep states (Gross, Subtle, Causal levels) . From those levels, you can only look out a window, whereas from the roof you can see it all.

    Practicing the AUM Mantra: The AUM Mantra represents the four states of Waking, Dreaming, Deep Sleep, and the fourth state of Turiya. These four are the focus of attention in remembering the OM Mantra. The Transition states and theSamadhi state are less focused on with intention during the practice. This does not mean they are not there, or will not be experienced, but simply that one not making specific use of them in Meditation and Contemplation. In practicing the OM Mantra, the emphasis is on the “A,” the “U,” the “M,” and the Silence, along with their associated realities.

    Practice with the Silence after AUM: In the practice of remembering the AUM Mantra, when awareness is on the Silence after the “A,” the “U,” and the “M,” you cultivate and train yourself to have an awareness of that consciousness, and that it:

    • Permeates all of the personal levels of Waking, Dreaming, Deep Sleep
    • Permeates all of the Subtle realm
    • Permeates all of the Causal realm

    Consciousness permeates, is the foundation of, and in fact, is the whole of the levels of the “A,” the “U,” and the “M” levels. This awareness is allowed to become clearer through practice, over time.

    Merging into stillness and silence: Many sages, teachers, and traditions have pointed out that eventually all light, sound and mantras lead to Stillness and Silence. By understanding the meaning of AUM and OM Mantra, and the levels of consciousness that it represents, it becomes much easier to see how it is that light, sound and mantras truly do merge back into the Stillness and Silence from which they arose.

    The meaning of AUM is revealed: The masters, sages, teachers, and traditions have also pointed out that to really understand this, one must do the practices and go to the Stillness and Silence oneself, wherein the meaning of AUM Mantra is revealed.

    I am a Wave in the Ocean of Bliss.
    I and the Ocean are One.
    I am Ocean.
    I am That.

    Distinction between Samadhi and Turiya: There is a fine distinction betweenSamadhi and TuriyaSamadhi is a dualistic style of attention, while Turiya in non-dualistic, leading one to the experience “I am That,” or Self-realization. There are many objects on which one can practice Yoga Meditation and enter Samadhi, and there are Gross, Subtle, and Subtler levels of objects in which one might attainSamadhi, as well as objectless Samadhi.

    However, Turiya brings one to Self-realization that, “I am a Wave in the Ocean of Bliss; I and the Ocean are One; I am Ocean; I am That”. 
     

    Mandukya Upanishad: 
    12 Verses on AUM Mantra

    The pinnacle of the wisdom of the ancient sages is contained in the terse twelve verses of the Mandukya Upanishad, which outlines the philosophy and practices of the OM mantra (written as either AUM or OM). It has been said that the wisdom of the ancient sages is in the four books of the ancient most text the Vedas, the juice of the Vedas is in the Upanishads, and the juice of the Upanishads is in the Mandukya Upanishad. The entire subject of Mandukya Upanishad is AUM Mantra. It has also been widely said that if one understands and practices Mandukya Upanishad, no other teachings are needed. While nobody is likely to do that, the statement is a clear comment on the strength of this wisdom and practice.

    OM Mantra is also suggested as a direct route to samadhi in the Yoga Sutras (See Yoga Sutras 1.23-1.29).

    Mandukya Upanishad on Om Mantra: Yoga Vedanta Meditation

    The teachings of the Mandukya Upanishad and OM Mantra are well worth deep study, discussion, reflection and contemplation. By faithfully and intently engaging these twelve verses, all of the other written and oral teachings can be explored as expansions of the foundation principles and practices encapsulated in this succinct summary. The OM Mantra is a roadmap of the entire process of sadhana and a most practical tool for Self-Realization. To have such a terse summary as the centerpiece of practices, it makes the context of all other practices significantly easier to understand and actually do. It is not only a most insightful writing, but also a complete outline for sadhana, enlightenment practices.

    Swami Rama wrote a profound book on Om Mantra and Mandukya Upanishad entitled “Enlightenment Without God” that has been out of print for many years (it is not “anti” God). Here is a link to adownload PDF file of this text that somebody sent me.

    Audio Podcast
     The Secret of Shiva and Shakti in the Three Worlds

    Verses 1-2 describe the Self and the Absolute.
    Verses 3-7 explain the four levels of consciousness.
    Verses 8-12 outline the four aspects of AUM.

    The Self and the Absolute (1-2):

    1) Hari Om. Om-ity-etad-aksharam-idam sarvam, tasyopavyākhyānam bhūtam bhavad bhavishyaditi sarvam-omkāra eva. Yaccānyat trikālātītam tadapy omkāra eva.

    All is OM: Hari Om. The whole universe is the syllable Om. Following is the exposition of Om. Everything that was, is, or will be is, in truth Om. All else which transcends time, space, and causation is also Om.

    2) Sarvam hyetad brahmāyam-ātmā brahma soyamātmā catushpāt.

    Atman has Four Aspects: All of this, everywhere, is in truth Brahman, the Absolute Reality. This very Self itself, Atman, is also Brahman, the Absolute Reality. This Atman or Self has four aspects through which it operates.

    Four Levels of Consciousness (3-7):

    3) Jāgarita-sthāno bahish-prājñahsaptānga ekonavimsatimukhah sthūla-bhug vaiśvānarah prathamah pādah.

    First is Waking / Gross: The first aspect of Atman is the Self in the Waking state, Vaishvanara. In this first state, consciousness is turned outward to the external world. Through its seven instruments* and nineteen channels* it experiences the gross objects of the phenomenal world.

    4) Svapna-sthāno’ntah-prājñah saptānga ekonavimsatimukhah praviviktabhuk taijaso dvitīyah pādah.

    Second is Dreaming / Subtle: The second aspect of Atman is the Self in the Dreaming state, Taijasa. In this second state, consciousness is turned towards the inner world. It also operates through seven instruments and nineteen channels, which engage the subtle objects of the mental realm.

    5) Yatra supto na kancana kāmam kāmayate na kancana svapnam pasyati tat sushuptam. Sushupta-āsthāna ekibhūtah prajñānaghana evānandamayo hyānandabhuk chetomukhah prājnastrityah pādah.

    Third is Deep Sleep / Causal: The third aspect of Atman is the Self operating in the Deep Sleep state, Prajna. In this third state, there is neither the desire for any gross or subtle object, nor any dream sequences. In deep sleep, all such experiences have receded or merged into the ground of undifferentiated consciousness. Here, one is filled with the experience of bliss, and can also find the way to clearer knowledge of the two preceding states.

    6) Esha sarvesvara esha sarvajña esho’ntaryāmy-esha yonih sarvasya prabhavāpyayau hi bhūtānām.

    Find the Experiencer: The one who experiences all of these states of consciousness is the omniscient, indwelling source and director of all. This one is the womb out of which all of the other emerge. All things originate from and dissolve back into this source.

    7) Nantah-prājñam na bahih-prājñam, nobhayatah-prājñam na prājñana-ghanam na prājñam naprājñam. Adrishtam-avyavahārayam-agrāhyam- alakshanam-acintyam-avyapadesyam-ekātma-pratyayasāram, prapancopasarnam santam sivam-advaitam caturtham manyante sa tm sa vijneyah.

    The Fourth Aspect is Turiya: The fourth aspect of Atman or Self is Turiya, literally the fourth. In this fourth state, consciousness is neither turned outward nor inward. Nor is it both outward and inward; it is beyond both cognition and the absence of cognition. This fourth state of Turiya cannot be experienced through the senses or known by comparison, deductive reasoning or inference; it is indescribable, incomprehensible, and unthinkable with the mind. This is Pure Consciousness itself. This is the real Self. It is within the cessation of all phenomena. It is serene, tranquil, filled with bliss, and is one without second. This is the real or true Self that is to be realized.

    Four Aspects of AUM (8-12):

    8) So’yam-ātmā adhyaksharam-omkaro dhimātram pādā mātrā mātrāsca pādā akāra ukāro makāra iti.

    Those Four are the Same with “A-U-M” and Silence: That Om, though described as having four states, is indivisible; it is pure Consciousness itself. That Consciousness is Om Mantra. The three sounds A-U-M (ah, ou, mm) and the three letters A, U, M are identical with the three states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping, and these three states are identical with the three sounds and letters. The fourth state, Turiya is to be realized only in the silence behind or beyond the other three.

    9) Jagarita-sthāno vaiśvānaro’kārah prathamā mātrā. āpterādimatvād-vāpnoti ha vai sarvān kāmānādisca bhavati ya evam veda.

    The Sound “A” is Waking / Gross: Vaishvanara is the consciousness experienced during the waking state, and is A, the first letter of Om Mantra. That simple sound of A is first and permeates all other sounds. One who is aware of this first level of reality has fulfillment of all longings and is successful.

    10) Svapna-stāhnas taijasa ukāro dvitīyā mātrotkarshādu-ubhayatvād- votkarsāti ha vai jñāna-santatim samānasca bhavati nāsyābrahmavit kule bhavati ya evam veda.

    The Sound “U” is Dreaming / Subtle: Taijasa is the consciousness experienced during the dreaming state, and is U, the second letter of Om Mantra. This intermediate state operates between the waking and sleeping states, reflecting some qualities of the other two. One who knows this subtler state is superior to others. For one who knows this, knowers of Brahman, the Absolute Reality, will be born into his family.

    11) Sushupta-sthnah prājño makras tritīya mtr miterapīter va minoti ha va idam sarvam-apītisca bhavati ya evam veda.

    The Sound “M” is Deep Sleep / Causal: Prajna is the consciousness experienced during the state of dreamless, deep sleep, and is M, the third letter of Om Mantra. It contains the other two, and is that from which the other two emerge, and into they recede or merge. A knower of this more subtle state can understand all within himself.

    12) Amātras-caturtho’vyavahāryah prapancopasamah sivo’dvaita evamomkara ātmaiva samvisaty-ātman-ātmānam ya evam veda.

    Silence after “A-U-M” is the True Self: The fourth aspect is the soundless aspect of Om Mantra. It is not utterable and is not comprehended through the senses or by the mind. With the cessation of all phenomena, even of bliss, this soundless aspect becomes known. It is a state of nondual (advaita) reality—one without a second. This fourth state, Turiya, is the real Self or true Self. One with direct experience of this expands to Universal Consciousness.

    *Twenty-Six Principles (from verses 3-4):

    The seven instruments are the more macrocosmic instruments, while the nineteen channels relate more to the microcosmic, individual person.

    Seven Instruments: First, Consciousness manifests outward as space, air, fire, water, and earth, along with the individuation from the whole and the flow of energy (which we know as the pulsing impulse towards breath).

    Nineteen Channels: Then, the individual operates through the four functions of mind (aspects of antahkarana, the inner instrument), which are manas, chitta, ahamkara, and buddhi. Those four operate through the five pranas (prana, apana, samana, udana, and vyana), the five active senses or indriyas (karmendriyas of eliminating, procreating, moving, grasping, and speaking), and the five cognitive senses (jnanendriyas of smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, and hearing)

    See also these articles: 
    Four Functions of Mind
     
    Ten Indriyas)

    These are explored in meditation and contemplation: All of these seven instruments and nineteen channels are the means by which the Self or Atman operates in the external world, which is Vaishvanara, the subject of this third verse of the Mandukya Upanishad. It is extremely useful, if not essential, to understand and remember these twenty-six principles, instruments, or channels. This is not just intellectual information, but rather, is a real key to the self-observation and self-awareness practices that lead to the transcendence of all of these, and the realization of the Self. If they are not conscientiously witnessed, one can be deprived of the depths of spiritual awakening.

    Keeping it simple: When reading about these twenty-six principles (the seven instruments and nineteen channels), it can seem very complicated. However, please keep in mind that the entire process of inner functioning is being mapped out in these principles. From that perspective, twenty-six is really not such a large number. By systematically learning about, exploring, witnessing, and transcending those few, you find yourself at the realization of the Self, the Atman, which is the goal described in other verses of the Mandukya Upanishad.

    Five elements: The five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space are literally examined during meditation and contemplation, as well as witnessed in daily life. The five elements operate in conjunction with the lower five chakras (at subtle level they are called tanmatras, which are part of tattvas, or subtle constituents). The five elements align with, and operate from the five lower chakras, along with the ten indriyas and a seed mantra for each.

    See also these links on the Five Elements: 
    Bhuta Shuddhi: Purifying the Five Elements 
    Five elements in Sankhya Philosophy article 
    Chakras and Elements in Indriyas article 

    Five pranas: When the Prana operates in the body, it divides into five major flows called Vayus. These can be thought of as somewhat like major currents in one of the large oceans of the world, while there may be thousands of smaller currents. These five Vayus are the major currents that contain thousands of smaller currents. The five are literally witnessed and examined during meditaition and contemplation.

    Prana Vayu operates from the heart area, and is an upward flowing energy, having to do with vitalizing life forces. 

    Apana Vayu operates from the base of the torso, in the rectum area, is a downward flowing energy, and has to do with eliminating or throwing off what is no longer needed. 

    Samana Vayu operates from the navel area, deals with digestion, and allows the mental discrimination between useful and not useful thoughts. 

    Udana Vayu operates from the throat and drives exhalation, operating in conjunction with Prana Vayu, which deals with inhalation.

    Vyana Vayu operates throughout the whole body, having no particular center, and is a coordinating energy throughout the various systems.

    See also these links on the Five Pranas: 
    Five pranas section of Kundalini Awakening 
    Five pranas section of Meditation article 

    Ten Senses or Indriyas: The human being is like a building with ten doors. Five are entrance doors, and five are exit doors. Witnessing these ten senses is an important part of meditation, contemplation, and meditation in action.

    Karmendriyas: The five exit doors are five means of expression, which are called Karmendriyas (Karma means action: Indriyas are the means or senses).

    Jnanendriyas: The five entrance doors are the five cognitive senses, which are called Jnanendriyas (Jnana means knowing; Indriyas are the means or senses).

    See also the extensive article on the Indriyas

    Four functions of mind: The four functions of mind are manas, chitta, ahamkara and buddhi. To witness these four is a tremendous practice for advancing in meditation.

    Manas = sensory, processing mind

    Chitta = storage of impressions

    Ahamkara = “I-maker” or Ego

    Buddhi = knows, decides, judges, and discriminates

    See also the article: Four Functions of Mind

    Witnessing: There is an extensive article on Witnessing Your Thoughts, which includes many of the seven instruments and nineteen channels outlined here in the Mandukya Upanishad.

     

           

    Om Mantra / AUM Mantra and the one who lives in the three cities, known as Tripura.

     

     

     

    Aside

    Archery and the Art of 
    Reducing Karma through Yoga

    by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Homepage 

    The law of karma,
    A universal principle:
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

    Reducing karma through archery: The ancient sages of Yoga and Vedanta use the metaphor of Archery as a teaching tool for how to work with and reduce karma through the process of Yoga meditation. In Yoga Meditation, Karma is of three kinds: Sanchita, Kriyamana, and Prarabhda, using the metaphor of three kinds of arrows in archery. Karma Yoga is the Yoga that emphasizes doing Yoga while also doing actions in the world, or Meditation in action.

    Index of this web page:  
    Three Kinds of Arrows & Karma 
    Arrows in the Quiver (Sanchita karma)
     
    Arrows in Flight (Prarabhda karma)
    Arrows in Hand (Kriyamana karma)  

    Improving Your Aim
     
    Letting the Stray Arrows Fall 
    Reducing the Arrows in the Quiver 

    Being a Peaceful Archer
      
    Meditation in Archery 

    See also:
    Karma and the Sources of Actions, Speech and Thoughts

       top 

    Three Kinds of Arrows & Karma

    Arrows and Karmas

    There are three kinds of Karma (further described  below): 

    1. Sanchita, the vast storehouse of yet unseen impressions  
    2. Kriyamana, those currently in front of us to decide or act on   
    3. Prarabhda, consequences already playing themselves out 

    Similarly, there are three kinds of arrows:

    1. Quiver: Arrows in the Quiver (Sanchita karma)
    2. Hand: Arrows in Hand (Kriyamana karma)
    3. Flight: Arrows in Flight (Prarabhda karma)

    This is a very practical tool: The metaphor of the arrows is a practical tool for daily life. The mind easily recalls the visual imagery, which serves as a reminder to do a good job of “shooting the arrows” of actions and speech. 

    • Decisions: The quality of our decisions leads to the quality of our actions, which means the level of our archery ability. 
    • Consequences: The aim of the arrows also determines the quality of the consequences that come back from those actions. 
    • Deep impressions: Those consequences come to rest in the bed of our subconscious as deep impressions (Samskaras) which determine our Karma. 
    • Recycling: These Samskaras will at some point lead to further thoughts, speech, and actions, that again lead to more consequences. 

    Learn to have a good aim: Remembering to act as a skilled Archer is very useful for making decisions that will later have positive consequences on our mental, emotional, and spiritual lives. The key is becoming “a good shot” with the arrows in our hand, while accepting that some of our previously shot arrows are causing painful, unavoidable consequences that need to be dealt with wisely.  

    Karma means actions“Karma” literally translates as “Actions,” and is the playing out of the actions resulting from the latent habit patterns, or Samskaras, that are stored in the depth of the mind. 

    Stages of karmaThere are three stages through which karma flows:

    1. Impressions from past consequences: First, there are the deep impressions which come as a result of the storing of consequences from previous actions, and the natural feedback from the senses receiving input. (arrows in the quiver)
    2. These impressions come forward: Second, these deep impressions come to the forefront of one’s life at some point in time in the future, whether or not it comes with conscious awareness. (arrows in hand)
    3. Actions and speech spring forth: Third, there are then actions and speech that spring forth, with or without the wisdom of conscious choice. (arrows in flight)

    See also: 
    Karma and the Sources of Actions, Speech and Thoughts

       top

    Arrows in the Quiver (Sanchita karma)

    Accumulated impressions: The karmas in the quiver are the accumulated deep impressions (Samskaras) that have been collected over our entire history. Some arrows have been added to the quiver (new Karmas) and others have already been shot (old Karmas), and are no longer in the quiver. 

    The formula of karma: The total of the arrows (Samskaras) in our quiver today is the net of the new arrows added, minus the old ones that have been shot. These arrows and deep driving habits in the quiver are called “Sanchita Karma.” 

    Current karma = 
    Old samskaras 
    + New samskaras added 
    - Old samskaras that have played out

    It takes time: Because of the process of playing out old Samskaras while new, more useful ones are added, it takes time for one’s balance of karma to improve. In other words, it doesn’t happen overnight (recognizing that God, grace, or guru might help).

    Predispositions are awaiting opportunity: Along with the playing out of our current Karmas in flight, we also know that there are many predispositions, habit patterns, or Samskaras that there awaiting an opportunity to come into action. Though we may not know exactly what these are, by observing our actions we can infer some of these predispositions. 

    Examining and attenuating karma: By a good job of preparation, balancing life, and learning to be a good Archer, one can eventually examine the Samskaras in the quiver during Yoga Meditation and Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep). In this way, deeper habit patterns can be attenuated or eliminated through Meditation, provided one has become trained as a good Archer. 

    Colored and uncolored impressions: Yoga science speaks of colored (klishta) and uncolored (aklishta) thought patterns. When these deeply colored thought patterns are regulated, and their coloring has been reduced through good archery skills, then one may move on to experience Self-Realization. 

       top 

    Arrows in Flight (Prarabhda karma)

    Arrow already shot: The arrows in flight are the Karmas that have already started to play themselves out, either in our inner world or in the external world. These are the arrows that have already been shot. The arrows and our actions still in flight are called “Prarabhda Karma.” 

    They have to run their course: An arrow in flight cannot be called back. It must complete its journey.  Thoughts, speech, and actions that have been set in motion cannot be called back. They too will run their course, bringing consequences or fruits. (Some say that this Karma can be altered by grace.)

    New decisions can help: New decisions can be made that balance out the effects of previously shot arrows. This is a good thing to do, as it improves the overall mixture of arrows in flight. However, the original arrows still move towards their fruition. 

    Learning to accept our consequences: The lesson for the seeker of Self-Realization is to accept that there are physical, mental, emotional, social, cultural, familial, financial, or material consequences of all of our previous actions (shot arrows). These simply need to be accepted as realities from which we now move forward in our spiritual quest. 

    The here and now: The arrows in flight need to be dealt with from the stance of the here-and-now, in the context of how we shoot today’s arrows. 

       top

    Arrows in Hand (Kriyamana karma)

    The arrows in hand are the most importantThe arrows that are in our hands today are the ones that we currently have a choice about where to aim and how to shoot. The arrows and choices in our hands today are called “Kriyamana Karma” (also called “Agami Karma” or “Vartamana Karma”).

    Becoming more awareTo be aware of the nature of wants, wishes, desires, attractions or aversions is very important. By being aware of our motivations, we can consciously shoot the arrows by choice, rather than unconscious habit. 

    Making good decisions: Through cultivating awareness and practicing conscious arrow shooting, we become better at aiming our arrows as well. We make good decisions about our thoughts, emotions, actions, and speech, rather than having these happen solely out of conditioned response. 

    Formula for archery: So, the formula, starting with Awareness, is: 

    • Awareness of motivations: Awareness of motivations allows us to learn to shoot arrows out of choice, rather than habit.
    • Conscious arrow shooting: Through conscious arrow shooting, the aim gets better with practice.
    • Outcomes improve: As the aim gets better, the outcomes are more favorable. 
    • Net karma goes down: If the outcomes are more favorable, net Karma goes down. 

    Primitive urges are the background motivation: Behind our actions are many thoughts, emotions, desires, samskaras, and primitive urges. By being aware of the process leading to actions, we can make wise choices about those actions. 
    (See “Karma and the Sources of Actions, Speech, and Thoughts“) 

    Arrows in daily life: One may have either a few arrows, or many arrows in the quiver (little Karma or a lot of Karma), but what is important is how we deal with the Karma presenting to us in our lives today. This is the art of Archery and reducing Karma. The law of Karma is universal; as you sow, so shall you reap. The words and cultural contexts may differ, but the principle remains the same. Learning to be a Master Archer is the key to mastery over the bondage of Karma. 

    Deciding what is the targetWhere to aim our arrows is a critically important question. If we don’t know what the target is, then it is rather difficult to aim well. Our arrows are shot almost at random, at every want, wish, desire, attraction, or aversion that pops up into the mind. 

    Understanding the purpose of life: Deciding what is the target means to understand the purpose of life. If the Archer has a sense of the purpose of life, using whatever words best describe that personally, then there is a target that all of the arrows can be directed towards. It means that one’s decisions are increasingly made in accordance with what brings one closer to the chosen target.

    What actions will serve Self-realization?: For one who chooses Self-Realization as the target, then decisions are made on the basis of what brings one closer, or leads one further away from that Goal. 

       top

    Improving Your Aim 

    Is it useful or not useful?: This is the most important aspect of the Archery metaphor. It means asking our deep Wisdom, “Is this useful or not useful?” about specific options in front of us. “Does this bring me closer or further away from the goal of Enlightenment?” “Should I do it, or not?” By consulting within in this way, answers will come. 

    Consulting Buddhi: In the Four Functions of Mind, the part that knows, decides, judges, and discriminates is called Buddhi. It is through the cultivation of Buddhithat one becomes a better Archer, training Manas (the lower mind) to follow the wise instructions of Buddhi, rather than just following the old habit patterns inChitta (the storehouse of Samskaras, or deep impressions and habits).  

    Determining actions by choice: It is a matter of actions being determined by the choice of Buddhi rather than by the unconscious impressions arising from the quiver. It works something like this: 

    • Once the target, or purpose is known, 
    • When Buddhi can make choices, 
    • And when Manas will listen, 
    • Then the arrows of action are shot in more accurate ways, 
    • And there are fewer negative consequences, 
    • As well as a greater number of useful consequences.  
    • These useful impressions are stored in the quiver. 
    • In turn, these arise to motivate further useful actions,
    • And we experience an overall reduction in our Karma. 

    The aim improves by consulting Buddhi: Through this repeated cycle of utilizing Buddhi to determine the aim of the arrows of action, one becomes a better and better Archer. As we become a better Archer, the process of reducing Karma works better and better. 

    What to do with the fruits of actions: An important key to shooting our arrows well has to do with the question of who is to receive the fruits of the actions. There are three general choices of where to give the fruits of actions: 

    1. The fruits come to me. 
    2. The fruits are given to others.  
    3. The fruits are offered to God. 

    The question of what to do with the fruits of actions is an important part of Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Action, which prepares one to do the deeper practices leading to Self-Realization. 

    Selfless service: Consequences of actions breed more actions, and in turn, more consequences. This cycle happens because of one’s attachment or aversions to the fruits of the actions. However, the more one practices selfless service, giving away the fruits of the actions to others, then the less those fruits turn into negative consequences that feed the cycle. 

    For example, if one is attached to the financial fruits of his or her job, then those financial fruits might be used to seek pleasure in the external world. When those external pleasures end up being inadequate, one might end up seeking even more fruits in an attempt to feel satisfied. 

    Other fruits might be, for example, the accolades, recognition, or the internal feelings of accomplishment coming from actions. These too can leave one in a painful cycle of seeking greater and greater fruits in an effort to feel whole and fulfilled. 

    A shift in attitude about fruits: However, if the same person has a shift in attitude, whereby the fruits of their labors are for others, such as family, friends, customers, clients, society, or humanity then one is free of the fruits. In other words, one learns to give away the fruits of the actions. Then the inner motive is to serve those other people, not merely to feed one’s own sense of personal needs. 

    The paycheck, accolades or recognition will still come and be enjoyed, but it is without expectation that these fruits themselves are capable of bringing happiness. When the fruits are given up, then one is free. The feelings of wholeness and fulfillment can then come from within, regardless of the outcomes of the actions. 

    Refinement leads to freedom: It is an ongoing feedback loop of shooting arrow, refining one’s aim, and shooting again that leads to being a good Archer, and to freedom from the bondage of Karma.

       top

    Letting the Stray Arrows Fall 

    Reducing the In-flight arrows: When we start improving our aim, and thus creating fewer attachments and aversions, we also have to deal with the arrows that are already in flight. Some of these in-flight arrows are painful, some are pleasurable. Whether bringing pain or pleasure, the consequences of these previously-shot arrows continues to come, until those arrows find their final destination and completion. 

    A simple process: There is a simple process to reducing the in-flight arrows: 

    We allow the arrows to fall where they are headed, accepting that some of them were poorly aimed. Past decisions are bringing current consequences. We accept these consequences and their responsibilities, as we stay focused on the arrows in hand. We allow the old arrows to run their course in such a way that we don’t add more negative consequences to come. 

    Not becoming diverted by the in-flight arrows: Because of these stray arrows, one may easily become diverted from the path of Self-realization. Those old arrows, shot long ago, continue to come and cause problems. Often what happens is that due to these old arrows, still in flight, we end up firing more arrows along the same off-course path. We can end up having just as many arrows in the air that are off-course, rather than seeing the number go down. 

    Being kind to ourselves: The solution is to be very kind with ourselves, as we cultivate persistence and patience. We may want spiritual energy, grace, or shakti to come to us, yet one of the first forms of that comes as determination. To have, cultivate, or pray for such determination is an essential practice on the journey to Self-Realization. 

    • Becoming a good Archer in making useful decisions, developing determination, and practicing patience, form a powerful combination.
    • Then, the number and intensity of off-course arrows of Karma gradually goes down, as the number that are on-target increases. 
    • Gradually our karmic focus shifts, as we move more and more towards a greater integration of mind, and reduction of samskaras
    • Then our meditations and contemplations can progress more smoothly and quickly on the Journey Within. 

       top

    Reducing the Arrows in the Quiver (Sanchita karma)

    The past impressions: The entire collection of the deep impressions (samskaras) that forms our past karma is the Prarabhda karma. Mostly, it sits in latent form until such time as some of it is ready to come to life, first in the mind-field, and then in the external world through actions and speech. 

    They start a cycling process: As these impressions turn into action, their consequences often come back through the senses, get processed by the mind and make still more impressions in the deep unconscious. The cycle of impression-action-consequence-impression goes on and on. 

    Be more mindful of choices and actions: However, by being more mindful of the nature of our choices and actions, we can allow our karmas to play themselves out, while not replacing them with new binding consequences being added to the quiver. Then we can have a reduction in the total Karmas stored in those Samskaras. 

    Examining and attenuating the latent arrows: The combination of having fewer arrows in the quiver and fewer negative arrows in flight leads the aspirant to do an even better job of examining and attenuating those remaining Samskaras during Yoga Meditation. 

    It can seem to be getting worse: Paradoxically, the Karmic arrows in the quiver might come to the surface in big clusters. It can seem that problems in life are getting worse! The life, consequences and actions coming forth might appear to be very unspiritual. This is the reason that there are stories of saints doing outrageous behaviors, as some of the few remaining Karmas manifest. 

    Self-Realization does not require removing all the arrows: The experience of the Self does not depend on having 100% of the Samskaras removed, such that there is no more Karma. Self-Realization does not stop the flow of the Karmas playing out, nor necessarily remove the latent Karmas in the storehouse. Though some of the seeds of karma may become so weakened or “burned” in the fire of Consciousness that they can no longer bear fruit, others remain. 

    The potter’s wheel continues to turnThe sages use the metaphor of the potter’s wheel. After the pot is made, the potter’s wheel continues to turn because of its previous impetus. So too, the Karmic impressions in the quiver continue to drive thoughts, actions, and speech. However, the aspirant becomes better and better at directing those forces when they arise. Even Patanjali (codifier of the Yoga Sutra) gives instructions of how to handle breaks in enlightenment by continuing to purify the latent impressions. 

    Efficiently working with karma: At this phase of Archery training, one has become a Master Archer, and does an efficient job of working through the remaining Karmas while remaining in the world, but above the world. 

       top

    Being a Peaceful Archer

    Archery in Yoga Meditation: Having a good aim in decisions and actions of daily life reduces Karma by having “the new” come into play, as “the old” works itself out. The same process is also done during Yoga Meditation. 

    Meditation in Action: In the external world, the Yogi allows the old Karmas (the arrows in flight) to play themselves out. In the internal world, the Yogi also allows the old Karmas to play themselves out, as the inner drama is observed from the vantage point of a Witness. For this reason, both “Meditation” and “Meditation in Action” are a part of Archery and the Art of Reducing Karma. 

    Seated meditation: In seated Meditation one allows the thought patterns come forward, learns to be undisturbed, unaffected, and uninvolved in them. They come, and they go. In this way, the intensity of the coloring of the deep impressions gradually attenuates. This is a process whereby the colored Samskaras (klishta) gradually have their coloring dissipated, as the thought patterns move towards being completely uncolored (aklishta). 

    Meditation and Meditation in Action: When the Samskaras weaken through Yoga Meditation, they can be more easily played out in daily life. When the Samskaras weaken through the actions of daily life, then they can more easily be played out in Meditation. The two practices of Meditation and Meditation in Action go hand in hand.

       top

    Meditation in Archery

    Good Archery removes the veil over the Self: Being a good Archer does not in itself bring Self-Realization. Rather, it is a means of reducing and removing obstacles. Learning the art of Archery reduces Karma so that one can rest in the stillness and silence. 

    Then, through the practices of Meditation, Contemplation, Prayer, and remembering Word or Mantra, the Self that has been there all along can be Realized.