From the Jacket:
The present volume, Yoga Psychology, comprises the lectures on the Yogasutras of Rishi Patanjali in a systematic and scientific manner, with copious references and glossaries of Vyasa and Vachaspati Misra. They were delivered by Swami Abhedananda before a talented audience in America in 1920.
The book discloses the secret of bringing under control the disturbing modifications of mind, and thus helps one to concentrate and meditate upon the transcendental Atman, which is the fountain-head of knowledge, intelligence and bliss.
About the Author:
Swami Abhedananda, an apostle of Sri Ramakrishna - Born October 2. 1866-Spent his early life among the brotherhood in Baranagar monastery near Calcutta in severe austerity-Traveled barefooted all over India from 1888-1895-Went to London at the call of Swami Vivekananda in 1896-Acquainted with many distinguished savants including Prof. Max Muller and Prof. Deussen-Landed in New York and took charge of the Vedanta Society in 1897-Became acquainted with Prof. William James, Rev. R.H. Newton, Prof. Josiah Royce of Harvard, Prof. Hyslop of Columbia, Prof. Lanmann, Prof. G.H. Howison, Prof. Fay, Mr. Edison, the inventor, Dr. Elmer Gates, Ralph Waldo Trine, W.D. Howells, Prof. Herschel C. Parker, Dr. Logan, Rev. Bishop Potter, Prof. Shaler, Dr. Jaynes, the chairman of the Cambridge Philosophical Conference and the Professors of Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Barkeley and Clarke Universities-Traveled extensively all through the United State, Canada, Alaska and Mexico-Made frequent trips to Europe, delivering lectures in different parts of the Continent-Crossed the Atlantic seventeen times-Was appreciated very much for his profundity of scholarship, intellectual brilliance, oratorial talents, charming personality and nobility of character-Made a short visit to India in 1906-Returned to America-Came back to India finally in 1921-On his way home joined the Educational Conference, Honolulu-Visited Japan, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Kualalumpur and Rangoon-Started on a long tour and went as far as Tibet in 1922-Estalished centres at Calcutta and Darjeeling-Left his mortal frame on September 8, 1939.
The word 'Yoga' means the communion of the petty self with the higher universal Self, and 'psychology' is the science of the psyche or soul. Therefore, Yoga psychology signifies the science' of unification of the lower self with the higher one, the union of the jivatman with the Paramatman, so to speak. The function of the psychology of Yoga is to prepare the mind, so as to catch a glimpse of the resplendent Atman, or to, appreciate the real status and undying glory of the Absolute. The Yoga psychology of Patanjali discloses the secret of bringing under control the divergent modifications (vrittis), of the mind, and thus, transcendental Atman, which is the fountain-head of knowledge, intelligence, and bliss.
Patanajli's Yoga aphorisms are called the Indian practical psychology, as they not only enunciate the laws and principles of controlling the mind, but also teach how to translate them into action. And so it is a perfect psychology as well as science. The Atman is the prime object of man's spiritual endeavour, and the Yoga system teaches how to reduce the mind substance into its simplest form, by the method of suppression (nirodha), which means to reduce the mind into consciousness (chaitanya).' In fact, Patanjali and the commentator Vyasa have used the word 'nirodha' (suppression) in the sense-of transformation i.e. transformation of the mind into consciousness. Swami Vivekananda, Swami Abhedananda, Sri Aurobindo and others are of opinion that we cannot kill the mind, but we can transform it. We can transform the mind into its simplest nature, which is the pure consciousness. Swami Abhedananda has clearly stated it in his Doctrine of Karma (Cf. Appendix II). But the question is as to how to suppress (in the word of the Yogasutra) the mad rush of the mind, or the mental modifications. Patanjali has said that the mind can be restrained by practice and renunciation (abhyasa and vairagya). The practice (abhyasa) means the repeated sustained efforts (yama) for securing the state of steadiness and calmness, and when steadiness is once attained, the mind goes back to its pure state, and is transformed into pure consciousness. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has said that the Brahman is beyond the limit of mind and intellect, but yet is reached by the pure mind ("kintu shuddha maner gochara"). Now, the mind is known by its positive and negative states of modifications (vrittis) which are known as samkalpa and vikalpa. When these vrittis, samkalpa and vikalpa are stilled or silenced, the mind shines in its own glory i.e. shines as the pure consciousness, says Vedanta.
It is a fact that we in out individual life create every- thing by the mind. We desire to create, and that desire takes the form of an impression (samskara) which instigates the mine to act, and by this process, we the individual souls mitigate all our cravings. Similarly, the cosmic mind, which is sum total of all the individual minds and is known as Isvara, Avyakta, etc. creates the world-appearance. Now,
according to the strict logic of Advaita Vedanta, Isvara or Avyakta does not create the universe, as will-to-create (sisriksha) remains latent or unmanifested in lsvara, and it is the Hiranyagarbha-Isvara or the Hiranyagarbha-Brahman that creates the world-appearance. This Hiranyagdrbha-Brahman is known ill the Puranas as Brahma, the Creature. The cosmic mind is generally known as the Prakriti, and in her womb the seed of creation or projection remains as unmanifested, and when she is intensified or 'motivated 'by the will-to-create, she begins to create the manifold universe. This Prakriti or Visva-Prakriti is the Hiranqagarbha-Brahmasi of Vedanta. The Advaita Vedanta has conceived two qualities-cum-adjuncts of determinateness and indeterminateness (sagunatva and nirgunatva), and it says that the Brahman, which assumes the state of the fourth principle and transcends maya, is known as the indeterminate (nirguna) Brahman, and the determinate (saguna) Brahman is the assuming third principle, Isvara or Avyakta as well as the assuming second principle Hiranyagarbha. Strictly speaking, the dual phase 'of the Brahman goes against the famous dictum of the non-dualistic Vedanta: neha nanasti kinchana, ekamevadvitiyam' there exists only the transcendental Essence which is one without the second. So the Absolute must be the one immutable (kutastha) sell-shining (svayamjyoti) Brahman. Vedanta says that it is maya that makes the undivided unique Brahman immanent and transcendent, -determinate and indeterminate, as the moon appears in the current of the river as dual (dvi-chandravat). In truth, the Brahman is one without the second, but it appears as both ground and cause of the changing world-appearance,
coming in contact with the inscrutable maya or nescience. But the theory as advanced by the non-dualistic school of Vedanta, and the theories of the Yogadarshana of Patanjali as well as of the Sankhya of Kapila are quite different. So Sankara brands the Sankhyians and Jogins as dualists in his commentary on the Brahmasutra, 11.1.3. He has said: 'dvaitino hi te sankhya-yogascha namaikattva-darshinah i.e. as the upholders of the Sankhya and Yogadarshana are not the believers in the non-dualistic Atman or Brahman, they are known as dualists. The contention of the Advaita Vedantists is that, though samapatti or samadhi may be attained by the absolute suppression and restraint of the modifications (vrittis) of the mind substance, yet nescience is not altogether destroyed by the process of suppression, but it exists in seed or causal form. So the upholders of the non-dualistic Vedanta, including Sankara, have clearly explained that mukti or knowledge of, the Brahman is attained through deep meditation upon the mahavakyas of the Upanishad: 'tattva-jnanam ,tu vedanta-vakyebhyas eva bhavati,-navedavin-manute tam vrihantam', 'tam tvaupanishadam purusham pricchami', and for this reason, Sarikara has refuted the theories of the Naiyayikas and Mimansakas, as well as those of the upholders of the Sankhya and 'Yogadarshana applying the merit of the Upanisadic dictum; 'etena sankhyansmriti- pratyakhyanena yoga-smritirapi pratyakhyata drashtavyetyati-dishati However, through the sincere practice of the Yoga, a seeker after spiritual knowledge can control the vibrations of his or her mind substance, and can, therefore, concentrate on his or her chosen ideal 'and bring about perfect equilibrium between the matter and the spirit, between the phenomena and the' noumena, that enables him 'or her to transform the mental stuff into the resplendent higher consciousness. This Yoga is one of the disciplined methods of attaining spiritual illumination. The vedantic method is a different one. So, when one follows the prescribed path of Raja Yoga, he or she must not compare it with that of Advaita Vedanta, as there are some fundamental differences between the two paths or methods. The practice or Yoga is useful and beneficial to the man or Woman, who likes and thinks it to be suitable for him or her. Ramakrishna Paramhamsa has said that as one kind of food does not suit all the children of a family, so a particular disciplined method cannot suit all kinds of aspirant. So while dealing with practice of Yoga, it should be looked upon purely from the yogic standpoint, and not from that of bhakti or jnana.
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