Sunday 7 July 2024

Yogopanishads – Yogashikha Upanishad

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

Yogashikhopanishad (Yogaśikhopaniṣad) - Yoga Shikha Upanishad is from the Krishna Yajur Veda, and it has six chapters. The six chapters contain 390 mantras. The first chapter is the largest one with 178 mantras. The second one has 22. The third one has 25 mantras. The fourth has 25, and the fifth has 62 mantras. The last one, the sixth adhyayam, has 79 mantras. So put together, Yoga Shikha Upanishad of the Krishna Yajur Veda has 390 mantras distributed among six chapters.


The Upanishad begins with beautifully explaining about the shad ripus, that is Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Madha, Matsaras. If they are removed from the Jeeva, it is the Paramatma. The Upanishad doesn't say Paramatma having these six rupus is the Jeeva. It doesn't say, it cannot be. Only Jeeva without shad ripus is the Paramatma. That does not mean or imply Paramatma with shad ripus is Jeeva. No. The Jeeva, having shad ripus, is unable to recognize the Paramatma. In fact, Yoga Shikha Upanishad puts it beautifully: there is no Jeevatma, there is no Paramatma. What is there is only Paramatma. And because of the shad ripus covering it, Jeevatma feeling comes, and this removal of the shad ripus is the only method for recognition, experience, or what we say, enlightenment for the Jeevatma to feel and experience, or what we say, to be one with the Paramatma. And that is how the Upanishad puts it: this Jeeva Bhava is because of the shad ripus. And for that, Aham Bhava is the important block. Aham Bhavaha is the reason for the shad ripus' existence, and this Aham Bhavaha, "I am, I am-ness," the elimination of that is the essential need and essential dimension for the Yoga Shikha Upanishad. And this is:


kāraṇena vinā kāryaṃ na kadācana vidyate।

ahaṃkāraṃ vinā tadvaddehe duḥkhaṃ kathaṃ bhavet।।


If Ahamkaram is not there, there is no Dukha at all. So, this feeling is the essential cause for the Jeevatma.


And the Upanishad explains beautifully in the 51st mantra of the first chapter that Jnana Yoga and Yoga are interdependent and they are incomplete with the absence of the other. One supplements the other, one fulfills the other,


yogena rahitaṃ jñānaṃ na mokṣāya bhavedvidhe।।


jñānenaiva vinā yogo na siddhyati kadācana।


That means without Yoga, there is no Moksha as Jnana speaks. And without Jnana, there is no Siddhi as Yoga speaks. So, Jnana Yoga and Yoga method are interdependent, interrelated, and intertwined, and both go together, one after the other.


Then the Upanishad speaks about the four Kumbhakas. Jeevatma Bhavam, to remove it, that I am the body, I am limited, I am Jeevaha, I am not Paramatman; to remove such feelings, to root them out, to cut off all this. The four Kumbhakas have been explained: that is the Suryabhedha, Ujjayi, Sheetali, and Bhastrika. Many of the Yoga instructors and teachers, we teach, we practice Suryabhedha, Ujjayi, Sheetali, and Bhastrika, but we never tell what is the final purpose, what is the final goal. We always say that Suryabhedha Pranayama gives this result, Ujjayi Pranayama gives this result, Sheetali Pranayama cools the body, Bhastrika Pranayama is good for that. We all talk with very meager, simple, physical, ordinary, material benefits. But the Yoga Shikhopanishad puts it, these four Kumbhakas enlighten, raise a person:

mukhena vāyuṃ saṃgṛhya ghrāṇarandhreṇa recayet।।


 śītalīkaraṇaṃ cedaṃ hanti pittaṃ kṣudhāṃ tṛṣam।


Sheetali Karanam - it talks about the Sheetali Pranayama: "mukhena vāyuṃ saṃgṛhya ghrāṇarandhreṇa recayet," that is, inhaling through the mouth and exhaling through the nostrils. It cools down the system. Pitta is removed. Kshudbadha is reduced. Hunger is removed. Similarly, Ujjayi pranayama was talked:


kaṇṭhe kaphādi doṣaghnaṃ śarīrāgnivivardhanam।

nāḍījalāpahaṃ dhātugatadoṣavināśanam।।

Practice of Ujjayi pranayama: it removes kapha doshas and enhances body temperature. That means yatharagni is enhanced. Digestive system gets improved, and that is how, and then practice of Surya Nadi, Surya Bheda pranayama balances the temperature in the body. Entire body temperature is maintained normally irrespective of the external changes. The body temperature is maintained. That is the Surya Bheda pranayama. Surya Bheda kumbhaka it is. Then Ujjayi kumbhaka, Shitali kumbhaka, then the Bhastrika kumbhaka.


The Yogashikha Upanishad also gives practices of the bandhatraya: Moola bandha, Uddiyana bandha, and Jalandhara bandha. How it is to be practiced? Moola bandha, as we are aware, it is the bandha closing, stopping the apana vayu exit route i.e. the anal sphincters. That is Moola bandha. Then the Uddiyana bandha is the middle one at the navi level. Bandhana is practiced. Then Jalandhara bandha is at the throat level. So, Moola bandha, Uddiyana bandha, and Jalandhara bandha. The Upanishad talks beautifully about the benefits of these three bandhas also. So, three bandhas.


Then the Upanishad speaks about the four yogas: Mantra yoga, Laya yoga, Hatha yoga, and Raja yoga. It talks about all the four important basics and says what Mantra yoga is. Mantra yoga is constant awareness of the sound of breathing and this constant awareness and experience and feeling of the breathing with mental chanting of the Om. Prana spandana shabda with Pranava shabda -  that harmonizing is mantra yoga, it calls it. It is called mantra yoga. The normal natural sound of breathing synchronized, aligned with the Manasika Omkara japa. This is mantra yoga.


Then the Upanishad talks about Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is joining, combining prana movement in Suryanadi and prana movement in Chandranadi. That is the flow of breath on the right side and the left side combined. That is Hatha yoga. Surya and Chandra, that is the cooling effects in the body, warming effects in the body. That is balanced. That is Hatha yoga. Then Laya yoga is merging the mind, quietening the mind, producing the thoughts in the mind. That is Laya yoga.


Then the Upanishad talks about the various dimensions and finally, beautifully, the Upanishad says the practices should be slow. "Shanai Shanaihi" - the Upanishad says. The practices should never be fast, quick, dynamic, tiring, exhausting, sweating. Yoga Upanishad prescribes, formulates, defines that yoga practices should be slower and slower within the limitations of the practitioner. "Shanai Shanaihi" - the Upanishad uses beautiful terminology. The practice has to be slow and slow, and it has to be with the guidance of an instructor or a Guru. Abhyasa yogat evaha mukti. Then only it brings out freedom from the inflictions and the difficulties. That is how the Upanishad raises the body as a temple of Shiva. Our own body is nothing but Shivalayam. The Upanishad calls it Sharire Shivalayam and how the body is Shivalaya. In a Shiva temple, when we go there, what are all the parts of the temple, what are all the external and internal precincts of the temple, what are all the parts of the temple, the Upanishad equates it that is the part of our body. So, the body itself is a Shiva temple. It means that all the Shiva temples are within the body and the body itself is a seat of Shivaha, Shivasthanaha it is. And that is how beautifully the Yoga Shikha Upanishad explains, describes, actually gives the temple architecture. It harmonizes and synchronizes with the body structure. It is simply feeling that our whole body is nothing but Shiva Swarupaha. It is a home of Shiva. It is a seat of Shiva.


Then the Upanishad talks about beautifully how the body is a composition of the energy centers, that is, the shad chakras. The Yoga Shikha Upanishad talks about the Muladhara chakra having a triangular shape. Its position is at the center of the anus and the genitals, and it is the seat of the Kundalini and the place of the beginning of the sound, the nadaha. The second is the Swadhishthana chakra at the navel region. Then the Manipura chakra, having 10 petals of the lotus. In the heart region is the Anahata chakra, having a 12-petaled lotus. Then the peeta is the Puranagiri. Then the Vishuddhi chakra is the 16-petaled lotus or 16-petaled chakra at the Vishuddhi chakra. Then the Ajna chakra, which has two petals at the center of the eyebrows. That is how the Yoga Shikha Upanishad gives a brilliant and important suggestion, method, and technique within our body to recognize the energy centers and to have meditation, contemplation, and knowledge of those energy centers within ourselves. And how they can be recognized by the practice of Uddiyana bandha, Jalandhara bandha, and Moola bandha. The Moola bandha is to recognize the Muladhara chakra. Uddiyana bandha is for the Swadhishthana and the Manipura. The Vishuddhi, and Ajna chakras for the Jalandhara bandha.


How beautifully the Upanishad explains the methods of the yoga practitioners and who is the adhikari for the yoga practice, who can practice these yoga practices. The Upanishad prescribes wonderfully "dvādaśābdaṃ tu śuśrūṣāṃ yaḥ kuryādapramādataḥ" means practicing, serving a guru for 12 years, learning the yoga methods, and subtleties and subtle techniques of the yoga from a guru, serving him for 12 years. That is how the Upanishad beautifully explains. An entire second chapter, 22 mantras, are full of Aum. The Akara, Ukara, Makara, and Mula Mantraha, Mula Pravanaha. How Aum is the entire symbol of the world, how Akaraha, Ukara, Makaraha. Akaraha is the Jagrata avasthaha, Ukara is the Swapnavasthaha, Makara is the dreamless Sushupti level. When our own consciousness, when we are aware of the entire world, when we are active, when we are in a state of knowing everything, that is the Akara. And when we are sleeping and dreaming, that is Ukara. And in a dreamless state, it is Makaraha. We regularly undergo and our consciousness undergoes these three states continuously, though there are two more states, Turiya and Turiyatita level. All these descriptions are given by the Aumkaraha. Akara, Ukara, Makara are the Jagrata, Swapna, Sushupti. Then the Bindu is the Turiyatita level, and the Ardhamatra is the Turiya level. So the five levels, five stages of the human conscious level, the existence of the human consciousness equated to the Akara, Ukara, Makara, Ardhamatra, and the Bindu of the Aumkaraha. The entire 22 mantras talk about this brilliantly.


And then the third chapter talks about the four stages of the Nada, the Shabda, and the Aumkaraha: Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama, and Vaikari, the four levels of Akaraha, Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama, and Vaikari of 'A'(अ); Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama, Vaikari of Ukara; Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama, and Vaikari of the Makaraha; and the Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama, Vaikari of the Aumkaraha. It is so beautifully the levels and the stages and experiences, how to experience, how to judge ourselves, how to measure our practice levels. The entire third chapter of the Yoga Shikha Upanishad talks about this, and the Upanishad brilliantly talks, gives beautiful suggestions.


In the fourth chapter of the Yoga Shikha Upanishad is the falsity of the Jiva. What we feel, "I am the body," our relationships, "my body, my hand, my legs, my thoughts," this "my, my, my," "my relations, my friends, my material," all these things, these connections, how these are all false, fake. The Upanishad beautifully explains with the reasons the falsity of the Jivatma:

caitanasyaikarūpatvadbhedo yukto na karhicit।

jīvatvaṃ ca tathā jñeyaṃ rajjvāṃ sarpagraho yathā।।


rajjvajñānātkṣaṇenaiva yadvadrajjurhi sarpiṇī।


Means, beautifully the example is given, Rajju Sarpa bhranthi. As long as we do not know that what we are seeing is the rope, we continue to feel it is a snake. We see a snake, and we are afraid of it. And this fear of the snake and seeing of the snake is lost or gone only when we know that it is not a snake and it is only a rope. "Oh, after all, it is a rope." Until this knowledge comes, then the false knowledge does not go. Until we understand that we are the Paramatman, we will not lose, we will not be free from the knowledge of the feeling that we are the Jivatman, "I am the body." This wrong identification, wrong attachment to this body, and feeling this body is everything. And all the requirements and attachments and necessities and needs and wants are for the fulfillment of this body, the requirements of the body. And we are engaging entire life in that. And this is the falsification. Like the existence of the snake continues to be there as long as we don't recognize that it was actually not a snake but a rope. This is the entire fourth chapter of the Yoga Shikhopanishad.


The fifth chapter brilliantly explains that the entire body is the Vishnu Alayam. The body is full of Vaishnava Alayam, how the body is Narayana, Vishnu. As we have seen the Shiva Alaya in the first chapter, and here it says the Vishnu Alayam. It only means that Shiva and Vishnu are not different, and Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same, and that both are, it is not both, it is one expressing as the two, and that one expressing as the two is our self, our real self. So whether it is Shiva or whether it is Vishnu, whether it is Shiva Alayam or Vishnu Alayam, it is our own existence. The body is Shiva Alayam. The body is Vishnu Alayam. So the Upanishad beautifully explains that the entire structure of the Vishnu temple is the body. It equates to the body. The Narayana and the Shiva, the Vishnu and Shiva are within ourselves. Our body is so wonderful. Our body is so expansive and so pure, so pavitrata it has to be, the pavitrata, the shuddhata has to be maintained as we maintain the pavitrata and shuddhata of the Shiva temple or of the Vishnu temple.


Then the Upanishad gives beautifully the Panchagnis: Kalagnihi, Moolagnihi, Badavagnihi, Grahagnihi, and the Suryagnihi. Kalagnihi is the heat below the navel region. Moolagnihi is the heat surrounding the Nabhi region. Badavagnihi is the heat at the thoracic chest level. And the Grahagnihi is the heat at the anus level. The Suryagnihi is the heat spread throughout the body and just surrounding the body. The temperature and the heat not only within the body; the temperature, heat within the body also spreads little above the body. Just like there is a fire is there, we feel the heat of the fire for a certain distance. Similarly, the heat and temperature warmth of the body is felt, can be felt even outside the body for a certain distance, for certain distance. This description comes in the fifth chapter of the Yoga Shikha Upanishad.


And that feeling and experience of the heat at different levels, feeling of the heat and warmth at different levels, different parts, different center of the body is the content of the fifth chapter of the Yoga Shikha Upanishad. And the last one is the Upanishad talks about the Sushumna Nadi and the final Kundalini energy, the final rise of the coiled energy, the compressed energy, and that unzipping our efforts, unzipping our spiritual, unzipping our unknown energy levels within ourselves. And that expression, manifestation of unknown energy, unfound energy, untapped energy within ourselves is the content of the sixth chapter. And of course, the Upanishad concludes by saying the entire world and my world and ourselves is nothing but an expression and manifestation of the mind. That is how the Upanishad concludes by saying for this knowledge, for this practice, Guru, a master, and a teacher is a must. And finally,

citte calati saṃsāro niścalaṃ mokṣa ucyate।

tasmāccittaṃ sthirīkuryātprajñayā parayā vidhe।।


cittaṃ kāraṇamarthānāṃ tasminsati jagattrayam।

tasminkṣīṇe jagatkṣīṇaṃ taccikitsyaṃ prayatnataḥ।।


The mind, when the chitta is moving, the world is there. The world means movement of the chitta. When the chitta stops, nishchalam, the world disappears. Appearance and existence of the world is because of the chitta chanchalyam and nishchala chittaha is the absence and disappearance of the entire world. That is how the Yoga Shikha Upanishad keeps hammering the point, the importance of quietening the mind, soothing the mind, and mano nigraha. And of course, it is the "cittaṃ kāraṇamarthānāṃ tasminsati jagattrayam". Beautifully the Upanishad puts it, is the chitta which is responsible for the existence of the Jagattrayam. The three Jagats - Jagrata, Swapna and Shushupti are there because the chitta is there, chitta is active. If the chitta becomes kshina, then the Jagat will be disappeared. That is how the Yoga Shikha Upanishad slowly and steadily raises a person's understanding and guides a person into the practice of the Yoga to its highest levels. That is the essence of the Yoga Shikha Upanishad. Aum Shanti Shanti Shanti:

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