Monday 8 July 2024

Yogopanishads – Darshana Upanishad

Transcription of the lecture given by Mananeeya Sri Hanumantaraoji, All India Vice President of VRM & VK

Darshanopanishad (Darśanopaniṣad) - Darshana Upanishad. Darshana Upanishad is one of the important Upanishads which contains various practices and suggestions, techniques, methods for the beginners and also to the advanced practitioners of the yoga. Darshan Upanishad is almost similar to Maharshi Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga, with various variations. Darshan Upanishad is from the Sama Veda. There are 10 Khandas, or for our convenience, we can say 10 chapters. In these 10 Khandas there are 224 mantras. Darshan Upanishad is a beautiful, wonderful description and discussion between the Guru and the Sishya. The Guru is Dattatreya and the Sishya is Sankriti. So Dattatreya Maharshi and his disciple Sankriti, their discussion is the exposition we find in Darshan Upanishad.


The 10 Khandas are: the first one is the Yama, which contains 10 Yamas. Second Khanda is a discussion on 10 Niyamas. Third Khanda is an elaboration and discussion of the 9 Asanas. Then the fourth Khanda is the Deha Pramanam, a discussion on the human body. The fifth one, the fifth Khanda, Pancham Khanda, is exclusively on the Nadi Shodhanam and the Mudras associated with, especially the Shanmukhi Mudra. The sixth Khanda is on the practice of Pranayama. The seventh one is on the Pratyahara, and the seventh, the Saptam Khanda, is on the Pratyahara Lakshanam and the Pratyahara Phalam. The Ashtam Khanda, is on the Dharana. A beautiful description is given on the external Panchabhuta Dharana and on oneself, Atma Dharana. The ninth one is on the Savishesha and Nirvishesha Brahma Dhyanam. So the eighth Khanda is on the Dharanam. The ninth Khanda is on the Dhyanam. And the last one is on the Samadhi. And this is how the ten Khandas, the ten chapters, ten divisions of the Darshana Upanishad, elaborates in detail the subtle practices involved in the Yoga for a person for the higher achievements, for quietening of the mind. The ten Niyamas and the ten Yamas, the nine Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, all are very practical suggestions, techniques.


The first Khanda is on the ten Yamas. And the ten Yamas are beautifully described as Ahimsa, Satya, Asteyam, Brahmacharya, Daya, Arjavam, Kshama, Dhruti, Mitaharaha, and Saucham. Talking about these ten Yamas, we find this commonality in the commonly known Yama of Maharshi Patanjali. But here the difference is few additions were given in this. And the discussions are very wonderful. When talking about Ahimsa, the Dattatreya Maharshi beautifully says,

vedoktena prakāreṇa vinā satyaṃ tapodhana।

kāyena manasā vācā hiṃsā'hiṃsā na cānyathā।।


ātmā sarvagato'cchedyo na grāhya iti me matiḥ।

sa cāhiṃsā varā proktā mune vedāntavedibhiḥ।।


It means, "vedoktena prakāreṇa vinā satyaṃ tapodhana। kāyena manasā vācā hiṃsā'hiṃsā na cānyathā।।" is to be avoided. Unnecessary involvement in violence, avoidable violence should be avoided.' When we say avoidable violence, is there unavoidable violence? Unavoidable violence? Then we have to understand the depth of the entire thing. The entire Srushti Krama, from the Vyashti, Samashti to the Parameshti, from individual to the entire creation, the Jiva Chakra, the life cycle, the time cycle involves some sort of dependence of life on others, on other lives. So there is always this dependence, interdependence, interrelatedness continues. To maintain this natural Dharmic cycle, Dharmachakra, what is happening, elimination, deletion of the lives is a natural sequence. But for self-aggrandizement, for selfishness, for selfish desires to be fulfilled, if violence is created, then it is Himsa. That is how beautifully the Upanishad goes. In the Mahabharata, there is an elaborate discussion between Himsa and Ahimsa. This suffices to understand: the activity done for the protection of Dharma, an activity done with nisvarthata (unselfishness) and selflessness, without any ragas, dveshas— that activity, if it inflicts hurt and violence on other living beings, it is considered as not violence.


Similarly, Satyam—

sarvaṃ satyaṃ paraṃ brahma na cānyaditi yā matiḥ।

tacca satyaṃ varaṃ proktaṃ vedāntajñānapāragaiḥ।।


About the Satyam. Similarly, Asteyam. Brahmacharyam was beautifully described.

It says,

kāyena vācā manasā strīṇāṃ parivivarjanam।

ṛtau bhāryāṃ tadā svasya brahmacaryaṃ taducyate।।

brahmabhāve manaścāraṃ brahmacaryaṃ parantapa।।


A complete abstinence from contact with women by means of the body, word of mouth, and the mind, as also with one's own wife, immediately after the desires, pouncing desires, uncontrollable sensual engagements are to be avoided. That is celibacy. Practice of celibacy. Then what is Brahmacharya? Beautifully, the Darshana Upanishad defines it as a staunch application of the mind to the state of becoming Brahman. "brahmabhāve manaścāraṃ brahmacaryaṃ parantapa।।" A complete penance, applying the mind for the Brahmabhavanam. That is Brahmacharya. A normal, common understanding of not getting married, living alone. That is not a definition of Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is brahmabhāve manaścāraṃ brahmacaryaṃ parantapa।।. Engaging the mind in the Brahmi sthiti. And for the practice of Brahmacharya, what are to be done? We have seen in the earlier sentences.


Then talks about Daya as a part of Yama. Then Arjavam, then Kshama, Dhrutihi. Then Mitahara is beautifully described.


alpamṛṣṭāśanābhyāṃ ca caturthāṃśāvaśeṣakam।

tasmādyogānuguṇyena bhojanaṃ mitabhojanam।।


What is Mitahara, Mita Bhojanam? 'Mitah' itself suggests a limit. 'Mitah' means a measurement, a limit. And what is the limit? 'caturthāṃśāvaśeṣakam' It means the fourth, one-fourth is left off. That doesn't mean three-fourth should be eaten. Half is to be eaten, moderately and pure food. Then half of the half is for water. And the quarter is left out. A moderate and pure food is eaten. And this is Mitahara.


Then Shaucham is beautifully described. Cleanliness is also part of Yama. And of course, the ten Niyamas of the Dhriti Khanda contain another important dimension. The ten important Niyamas are Tapah, Santoshah, Astikyam, Danam, Ishvara Pujanam, Siddhanta Shravanam, Hrihi, Matihi, Japah. These are the ten parts of the Niyamas as prescribed in the Darshanopanishad.


Darshanopanishad goes in detail: what are the practices? How these are to be practiced? Tapah means what?

śarīraśoṣaṇaṃ yattattapa ityucyate budhaiḥ।।

ko vā mokṣaḥ kathaṃ tena saṃsāraṃ pratipannavān।


Emaciating the body, putting the physical body to a strain, making an effort to enhance the capacity, forbearance of the body. And that is how Tapah has been beautifully described. Ability of the body to withstand toughness, to bring that ability, to increase that ability. Capacity of the body to withstand the external changes, atmospheric changes. Ability to maintain natural common balance of the body. All the steps taken for that, is Tapah.


Then beautifully, the description of Santoshah comes. Astikyam is a beautiful word used as a part of the Niyama. Then Danam, Ishvara Pujanam are there. Then Siddhanta Shravanam. How wonderful it is! As a part of the Niyama, listening, hearing the Siddhanta, means texts which propose conclusions, texts which enhance faith, texts which guide one's practices towards the higher lives. That Siddhanta Shravanam, of course, the Darshan of Upanishad prescribes it.


"pratyagityavagantavyaṃ vedāntaśravaṇaṃ budhāḥ" it calls. Vedanta Shravanam is the Siddhanta Shravanam and that is part of the Niyama. Then Hrihi. Hrihi is modesty. Modesty, a very important quality and character. And then Matihi is another beautiful quality, character as a part of the Niyama of the Darshan of Upanishad. And what is Matihi? "guruṇā copadiṣṭo'pi tatra saṃbandhavarjitaḥ" Means all the connections are to be cut which will be disturbing the mind, all the attractions, attachments, and connections which are responsible for the distractions of the mind to maintain its stability. And the Darshan of Upanishad says, even if the Guru instructs, one should not follow that, if it is detrimental to one's stability of the mind. Then the Japaha is the last part of the Niyama.


Then the Tritiya Khanda talks about the Asanas, the nine Asanas: Swastikasana, Gomukhasana, Padmasana, Virasana, Simhasana, Bhadrasana, Muktasana, Mayurasana, Sukhasana. These are the nine important Asanas, and the Darshan of Upanishad describes them in a simple dimension, how to practice. At the end of the Tritiya Khanda, what is the benefit of the practice of the Asana? Asana jaya phalam. Very important suggestion it is, very important conclusion of the Darshan of Upanishad is:


āsanaṃ vijitaṃ yena jitaṃ tena jagattrayam।

anena vidhinā yuktaḥ prāṇāyāmaṃ sadā kuru।।


One can master the world, and after that, one can master the Pranayama. For a person to master the practices of Pranayama, one has to be a master of the Asanas. It is not that one has to be the Asana of masters. Practice of Asanas contributes and helps in gaining mastery in the practice of Pranayama. This is what the Asana Phalam.


Then the Chaturtha Khanda talks about the Deha Pramanam: characteristics of the body, contents of the body, the structure of the body, the dimensions of the body. Beautifully it talks. And the seat, the positions of the nadis, the seat and positions of the various chakras, the position and prescriptions, activities, effects of the various pranas—the Pancha Pranas, the Pancha Upa Pranas. Then what are their activities? All these are beautifully described in the Deha Pramanam. And it describes beautifully the names of the 15 important nadis: Ida Nadi, Pingala Nadi, Sushumna Nadi, Saraswati Nadi, Kuhu, Gandhara, Hastajivha, Pusha, Yashaswini, Vishodara, Varuna, Shankhini, Alambusa, and Payaswini. Then it says about Ida Nadi is the cooling and effect of the Chandra. Pingala Nadi is the effect of the Surya.


Then the Darshanopanishad wonderfully describes the tithis, the ayanas, the varas, the tirthas are all part in the body, part and parcel of the body, concluding that our own physical body is full of divine qualities. Our own physical body is the punya kshetra, punya tirtha, punya tithi. This is how wonderfully the Upanishad describes.


Then we come to the fifth Khanda, that is the Pancham Khanda, which talks about the Nadi Shodhanam, purification of the nadis—the Ida Nadi purification, Pingala Nadi purification, and how the inhalation and exhalation are to be done. It should be very clear that the Upanishad prescribes slow, balanced, harmonious, synchronized breathing. The flow of the breath in these nadis and nostrils has to be slow, deep, harmonious, and synchronized. The time of inhalation and exhalation has to be longer and longer, deeper and deeper, slower and slower.


What method we adopt to it, that is the pranayama method. And by the practice of the Nadi Shuddhi, what happens? The symptoms of the correct practice of Nadi Shuddhi, the Upanishad beautifully describes: lightness of the body, glowing of the jatharagni, good digestion, then a clear expression of the sound, the nada, and there is a feeling of light and effortlessness. And we should always remember, a correct, right practice of pranayama eliminates digestive inconveniences, digestive disorders. Then the highest benefit of the Nadi Shuddhi Lakshanam is Atma Shuddhi, self-purification.


ajñānānmalino bhāti jñānacchuddho bhavatyayam।

ajñānamalapaṅkaṃ yaḥ kṣālayejjñānato yataḥ।


Atma Shuddhi means what? "ajñānamalapaṅka:" - beautiful word it is. Pankaha is mud, slush, dirty slush of ajnanaha. And the Upanishad defines what is ajnanaha. Ajnanaha is taking this body as our real self. Not knowing our real self and taking it wrongly that the body is the real self. This is the ajnanaha. And this ajnanaha is the mala pankaha. It is a dirty slush. And that is removed, purified by the practice of Nadi Shuddhi. We should understand the highest benefit of the Nadi Shuddhi is the removal of ajnanaha.


And the sixth one is the Shashtakhandaha, which is about the Pranayama. Beautifully, the Darshanopanishad explains wonderfully the Pranayama vidhi, Pranayama siddhi, Pranayama lakshanam. And it says roga nivartaka Pranayama—means it removes the rogas, imbalances are removed, balance is restored. Shanmukhi mudra practice is a beautiful explanation in this sixth Khanda. And practicing Pranayama with Shanmukhi mudra is an important practice it gives. And if one masters this Pranayama,

prasvedaḥ prathamaḥ paścātkampanaṃ munipuṅgava।।

utthānaṃ ca śarīrasya cihnametajjite'nale।


The lightness of the body is so light that there is a feeling of weightless. It is not just a feeling of the weightless. The body becomes so light it can float. This is how the benefit of the practice of Pranayama in the Shashtakhanda it comes. Then the practice of Pranayama also enhances one's mastery over the raga and dveshas.


Then the seventh Khanda is on the practice of Pratyahara. As we all are aware, Pratyahara is the mastery over our senses—the Pancha Jnanendriyas and the Pancha Karmendriyas. The pressure, the push, the pull, and the force of the senses are brought under control, are brought under restraint. And maintaining the stability and the restraining state of the mind, not allowing the senses to be free as unbridled horses, bridling the horses of the senses is Pratyahara.


And then the eighth Khanda is on the Dharana. And this Dharana is on the Pancha Bhutas—external. A Dharana on the murti, a Dharana on the form, a Dharana on an object having a name and shape. Every object has a shape and every object has a name. There cannot be any object without shape and name. Nama rupa rahita vastu is not possible. When there is Nama, there will be Rupa. When there is Rupa, there will be Nama. When there is a Nama and Rupa, there is an object. So this object, name and form. And this name, form and object, subjected with the Pancha Bhutas (Pritvi, Apas, Teja, Vayu, Akasha). Prithvi - varieties of object's names and forms. Apaha (water) -  varieties of object's names and forms. So, this object's name and form applied to all the five, its various combinations and concentration on that is the Pancha-Bhuta Dharana it is. And finally, the Darshanopanishad says from the external Pancha Bhuta Dharana, perform Dharana on one self, an internal Dharana.


Then the Navama khanda, the ninth khanda is Savishesha Brahma and Nirvishesha Brahmaha. And what is Dhyana phalam? The result of the Dhyana is:


evamabhyāsayuktasya puruṣasya mahātmanaḥ।

kramādvedāntavijñānaṃ vijāyeta na saṃśayaḥ।।


One gains the knowledge of the Vedanta and gradually he gets liberated. Nasamshayaha - no doubt about it. This is how the Navama Khanda of the Darshana Upanishad.


Then the last one is on the Samadhihi. And finally the Upanishad has an Upasamhara, it sums up completely, summed up by the Maharshi Dattatreya gives to the Sankriti the disciple that at the end of all these, one attains the Atman, 'Atma Tattva Nirupanam' it is. "dattātreyo mahāmuniḥ sāṃkṛtiḥ svasvarūpeṇa sukhamāste'tinirbhayaḥ" - one gets established in Sukham and Nirbhayam. Svasvarupena - that is the highest dimension of the Darshanopanishad, describing all the various practices in the entire Yoga practices and Darshanopanishad is the most practical and practice oriented Upanishad of all the twenty Yogopanishads. Let us conclude here. Aum Shanti Shanti

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सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

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