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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Raja Yoga: Swami Vivekananda

I am still "doing nothing." Lord Krishna, of course, will say that is impossible. So yes, I do what I do, but I am still inside. My dharma is to take a long break from wrestling with life, constantly charging ahead to keep from falling. Now I just am.

I really feel done. This lifetime is over. If I'm staying, then a new lifetime will begin in this body. But not now, not yet.

The bubbling in my ears is so loud. I have read that it is the prana rising through the akasha. And so I did some reading.

Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda

In Raja-Yoga (1896) Swami Vivekananda wrote in the third chapter, which is entitled "Prana:"

...According to the philosophers of India, the whole universe is composed of two materials, one of which they call Âkâsha. It is the omnipresent, all-penetrating existence. Everything that has form, everything that is the result of combination, is evolved out of this Akasha. It is the Akasha that becomes the air, that becomes the liquids, that becomes the solids; it is the Akasha that becomes the sun, the earth, the moon, the stars, the comets; it is the Akasha that becomes the human body, the animal body, the plants, every form that we see, everything that can be sensed, everything that exists. It cannot be perceived; it is so subtle that it is beyond all ordinary perception; it can only be seen when it has become gross, has taken form. At the beginning of creation there is only this Akasha. At the end of the cycle the solids, the liquids, and the gases all melt into the Akasha again, and the next creation similarly proceeds out of this Akasha.

By what power is this Akasha manufactured into this universe? By the power of Prana. Just as Akasha is the infinite, omnipresent material of this universe, so is this Prana the infinite, omnipresent manifesting power of this universe. At the beginning and at the end of a cycle everything becomes Akasha, and all the forces that are in the universe resolve back into the Prana; in the next cycle, out of this Prana is evolved everything that we call energy. everything that we call force. It is the Prana that is manifesting as motion; it is the Prana that is manifesting as gravitation, as magnetism. It is the Prana that is manifesting as the actions of the body, as the nerve currents, as thought force. From thought down to the lowest force, everything is but the manifestation of Prana. The sum total of all forces in the universe, mental or physical, when resolved back to their original state, is called Prana. "When there was neither aught nor naught, when darkness was covering darkness, what existed then? That Akasha existed without motion." The physical motion of the Prana was stopped, but it existed all the same.

At the end of a cycle the energies now displayed in the universe quiet down and become potential. At the beginning of the next cycle they start up, strike upon the Akasha, and out of the Akasha evolve these various forms, and as the Akasha changes, this Prana changes also into all these manifestations of energy...

Swami Vivekananda Madras 1897
Swami Vivekananda Madras 1897

NOTE: Vivekananda is from the school of Advaita Vedanta. I am a devotee of Kashmir Shaivism, which is called paradvaita. But there is overlap for me. In my experience, in Siddha Yoga, we study both.

Both agree that God is real. Advaita Vedanta states that all of this is illusion, and only God is real. Paradvaita states that all of this is God, made by God from His divine consciousness.

To me, all of this is made by God from His consciousness, and I love and worship Him in everything. But also, it is contracted consciousness, and has become a habit of the mind. This is the illusion I seek to reject. I want to swim in His consciousness back to my place forever established in Him.

Shiva is my Lord, and I long for Him... long for Him...

Abstract art of a peacock

One thing I have learned, see more clearly from reading Shree Vivekananda, is that my concepts about moving in a straight line towards realization is a misunderstanding. I am made not only of the consciousness of God, but also the matter and energy which God has become by descending through the tattvas. This energy is in me, and must be held back by the magic of maya.

I can become established in Shiva in many ways. For some reason this is not about discipline for me right now. The hard edges of action are being softened and loosed from me. I am still and soft. I breathe.
Art of Lord Shiva

When I think of Swami Vivekananda I always think of "The Crest Jewel of Discrimination." Just this phrase is so powerful. If I had this, I would have everything. I have prayed for it, but had to think about it first. This prayer will invite a great deal of heat! I decided it was worth it.

Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda: A very great being

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