Note: For the Original
Internet Lessons with additions,
For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books,
Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Lesson 151 -
Samyama - Settling in with Your Sutras (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
151.1 - Samyama and the Energy Before Thoughts (Audio)
151.2 - Relationship of Akasha and Pure Bliss
151.3 - Samyama for Sensitive Meditators (Audio)
151.4 - Samyama,
Scenery and Self-Inquiry (Audio)
Self-Pacing the Explosive Force of Samyama (Audio)
Are "Akasha" and "Inner Space" the Same Thing?
Date: Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:20am
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q1: I am a little bit
confused over how we are supposed to relate to the sutras. Radiance and
Unity are for me very vague and ambivalent - for me they are pretty much
context words where as Love is self-explanatory. Why do we choose the
particular sutras, take "strength" -somebody would argue that agility can be
more useful. What about pratyahara and akasha? If you've never experienced
those things then they are as meaningless as mantras. Where does the
eventual effect then come from? Can you add personal sutras or is this
hazardous? Some people may for example desire more humility in themselves. I
hope this will help you with filling the gaps of my understanding. Thanks
for all the time you put into this group - it's a real goldmine!
A1: At first I thought
to give specific definitions for each sutra, but decided not to, as each
person will find their own "ecology" with meanings within their own language
and culture, just as you are finding yours now. It is as it should be. Some
settling in time is normal.
Someone else wrote
saying they don't know what Love is, and liked all the rest. So, everyone
will be different. The individual meanings are not as crucial as the overall
practice, for everyone will eventually come into their own right meanings.
Samyama will stimulate the rise of inner silence using the full range of
sutras, which, taken all together, purify and open the entire nervous
As for changing sutras, it is up to you. If
"humility" is not contained in "Love" for you, then add it. If "Radiance" is
not clear, use "Divine Radiance" or "Outflowing Light." If "Unity" is
unclear, use "Oneness." Or, maybe those clarifications will give you comfort
in using the originals.
Akasha is best
understood as living inner space - alive emptiness. Almost pure bliss
consciousness itself. Our body is that - energy in vast empty space. There
is nothing much here. Only the appearance of something. Akasha means that.
Then, in the sutra "Akasha - Lightness of Air" we let it go into silence,
and everything moves in us to manifest lightness. Whoosh! Don't worry too
much about meanings. The necessary knowledge is inside. It doesn't take much
to set the right direction.
Pratyahara is not
offered as a sutra - "Inner Sensuality" is, which will enliven the senses
inward. There is a lesson a month or so back (#121)
on pratyahara which should make the meaning of this clear. It is also
discussed in the lesson before last on the eight limbs of yoga.
Picking sutras is not
exact science. Commit to a good list for yourself and go with it. You can't
wander too far off track if you stay with the basic range of meanings. There
are plenty more in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, many far more abstract than the
ones given here. The idea is to cover the whole of body/mind/heart,
stimulating inner silence out through it. This will purify and open the
important channels (nadis) in the nervous system. Once you settle in with
samyama, it is suggested you not change sutras around often. We want to go
deep, and that will be difficult if we keep moving the location of our
digging. For the same reason we stay stable with our mantra, except for
occasional enhancements when we are ready to "shift gears" to broaden our
presence in pure bliss consciousness.
As your habit of samyama
develops through daily practice, you will gradually find all of your
thinking and feeling during daily activity naturally originating deeper
inside. This is the ultimate benefit of doing samyama practice. It
cultivates the habit of living and expressing from the level of divine
silence in us. Then we find increasing success and happiness in everything
we do. It is a habit of thinking and doing we are cultivating. So, while the
choice of each sutra is important, it is the overall effects of the full
range of sutras in our everyday life we are really after.
Q2: Thank you very much for your reply. It
clarified things. I just wonder, some people say that Akasha has the meaning
of spirit. It's the fifth tattva, in the European esoteric tradition
equivalent with the fifth element spirit - ruler of the other elements. I'm
not familiar with the Indian words, but it is interesting anyway.
A2: Akasha is the last
stepping off point before unmanifest pure bliss consciousness, the infinite
silence within us which is the essence of all that is. In all traditions
there is a necessity to assign mythological deities, rulers, authority
figures, to the various levels of functioning in nature. It has to do with
the natural human need for an ishta (chosen ideal), which stimulates bhakti
and spiritual growth. This is how bhakti works, and it is very important
that we have it in some form. However, we don't want to get all wrapped up
in flights of bhakti during the practice of samyama. We just easily pick up
the sutra very faintly and let it go into silence. It is important not to
favor flights of contemplation with the mind or rituals of worship during
samyama. We can do that later. Samyama, like deep meditation, is a specific
practice that we favor during the time we are doing it.
The body as "akasha" (living empty space) is the
first step of the two-part lightness sutra. The second part, "lightness of
air," moves inner silence, and our akasha-body with it. But it can only
happen if we let the sutra go into silence. So it is with all divine
manifestation, which includes everything in the cosmos. Everything we see
and know emanates from vibrations flowing out from pure bliss consciousness.
John 1.1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God... All things were made by the
The basic principles of samyama are behind all
For the sake of our
enlightenment, we can enter into this divine creative process within
Click here for additional lesson content on the finer points of Samyama
The guru is in you.
See this complete instructional lesson and all the expanded and interactive AYP Plus lessons at:
Samyama Related Lessons Topic Path
Self-Inquiry Related Lessons Topic Path
Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum
Note: For detailed
instructions on samyama practice, covering multiple applications, see the
AYP Samyama book,
and AYP Plus.
Previous | Next