Teaching Ashtanga,  Uncategorized,  Yoga Philosophy,  Yoga Sutras

Yoga Sutras For Modern Day Life: Yoga and Truth

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:  1:47-49-In reaching Nirvichara Samadhi, the mind becomes pure. A truth-bearing state of direct spiritual perception dawns. His knowledge is no longer based on memory of inference. It is direct. 

Defining the Sutra

For more information on Nirvichara Samadhi, go here.  After Nirvichara Samadhi, the yogi is so pure that they no longer has to relay on books and external spiritual teachings. Instead of viewing the world through the dirty lens of memory, which is smudged with fear, pain, and a constant need to hold on to an identity, they can see everything for what it truly is in the present moment. Because they view the world through crystal clear glasses, they can easily see the truth without having to refer to books or other teachings. They experience truth directly.

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Modern Day Application

I have had the privilege of experiencing this directly. I once knew a teacher that could answer any question. I am serious. He would have question and answer sessions every Sunday that were open to anyone. People would come from all over the world and they would ask anything. He never knew what they were going to ask. Many of them, he had never met.  No topic was off limits. Politics, health, relationships, religions, spirituality, no matter the subject, he answered the question. At the end he would say, “don’t believe me, check it out”.  Any question that I checked out after class was always accurate and true. I no longer follow this teacher, but to this day, whenever I see new information from him, it is completely fresh and mind blowing.

Why don’t I follow this teacher anymore? This form of Samadhi is still with seed which means that the person is not fully free of their…for lack of a better word…demons.  This state is temporary. While this teacher had the ability to pull information from thin air, I needed to be free of him.

The ability to see the truth directly is freeing. In the state, Nirvichara Samadhi, you are free of doubt and fear. There is a deep since of knowing. Everything you need to know is revealed to you.  You trust.

 

U.G. Krishnamurti(spiritual teacher) said that the words he spoke were just arisings out of the Infinite. There was no thinking about them, no planning, no pondering, no attachment. He just opened his mouth, spoke, and then shut up!! And he didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass what he said.-Tom Stine

Today you do not have to live in that rarified spiritual environment or commit your entire life to get the teachings of the truth. And yet, to realize the truth and then take it all the way into living and being what you really are, fully and completely, the internal commitment is not any less. It can’t be any less because nothing less than a full, internal love of truth will do. If you love anything more than you love the truth, there’s no way this realization can complete itself. You can realize it, you can awaken, and you can have a nice enlightenment experience, but it’s not going to be something that’s going to be stable and effortless, or last forever. That’s just the physics of it. I’m not writing the rules. It’s just the way things are.-Adyashanti

Why It is Important

Nothing beats first hand knowledge. Think about all the people who have been wrongly imprisoned due to second hand knowledge. The jury was not there for the crimes but they, along with the judge, had to make a decision. Second hand knowledge is also knowledge that you filter through your mind and don’t experience in the present moment. I am sure you can name many times in your life where you were completely sure about something  or someone only to find out it was not true. The Yogi in a state of Nirvichara Samadhi, may not pull answers out of thin air like my teacher, however they have a deep knowing and connection to truth. They do not see through a filter or make decisions based on second hand knowledge or faulty memory.

 

Truth Is- By Adyashanti

Truth is only discovered in the moment.
There is no truth that can be carried over
to the next moment, the next day, the next year.
Memory never contains truth, only what is past, dead, gone.

 

Truth comes into the non-seeking mind fresh and alive.
It is not something you can carry with you, accumulate, or hold onto.

 

Truth leaps into view when the mind is quiet, not asserting itself.
You cannot contain or domesticate truth, for if you do, it dies instantly.

 

Truth prowls the unknown waiting for a gap in the mind’s activity.
When that gap is there, the truth leaps out of the unknown into the known.

 

Instantly you comprehend it and sense its sacredness.
The timeless has broken through like a flash of lightning
and illuminated the moment with its presence.

 

Truth comes to an innocent mind as a blessing and a sacrament.
Truth is a holy thing because it liberates thought from itself
and illumines the human heart from the inside out.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.

2 Comments

  • C

    Hi Shanna,

    First of all, I´d like to thank you sharing all these interesting reflections on the Yoga Sutras. Your point of view and how you relate the inner meaning with the modern day application it´s really helpful to me.

    I´m very impressed by your anecdote of the teacher that could answer any question, no matter what topic was. I wonder if he was like a “human Google” or something like that. I would like to know, if it´s possible, the name of the teacher and where did you find him.

    Thank you so much.
    I´ll keep reading your blog.

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