And you know how, in contrast, today people say that this is no longer the case? Well, I call B/S on that!
YOGA IS TODAY AS MUCH A SECRET AS IT HAS EVER BEEN
I just finished reading Gregor Maehele’s last book Yoga Meditation. In it, he spills ALL the secrets of meditation as intended by Patanjali and his eight limbs, all the way to how exactly you can access the mystical states of samadhi. One by one, They are all there.
BUT to learn about it we would need to read the book, and further, to understand it we would need to read his previous book as well: Pranayama The Breath Of Yoga (as he refers to it often and directs to it for techniques), and even further back, we would also need to look into his first two books in which he talks about asanas (describing the poses of the first and second series of Ashtanga Yoga as well as the Yoga Sutras and the yamas and niyamas, etc).
But even beyond all of that! Yoga is a living science that needs to be practiced not just read about. Therein lies the secret!
The techniques maybe accessible and in book form giving the illusion that the secret is out, but the gatekeeper is still present, it lives in our distracted minds and dispositions.
That being said, if there is one book that FINALLY comes together for us modern-aspiring-yogis explaining Patanjali’s yoga in a practical and attainable way, with a clear plan towards the goal of the mystical states, this is it!
Take this for example: from page 178:
“This is a scientifically precise engineering manual for meditation. Using this method with precision, predictable outcomes can be achieved. Do not leave meditation to chance. Like asana and pranayama, yoga meditation is an exact science!”
Maehle has done his research by looking at hundreds of ancients texts, he goes on to correlate each one of his findings to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and he has burned through the fire of his own intense practices as he has visited a great number of living sages of our times and learned under them.
This book is, for those who are ready for it, nothing short of the greatest gift a yogi could ever hope for.
TWO THINGS I LEARNED JUST BY LOOKING AT THE COVER:
1- Lotus Flowers of Each Chakra Are Facing Up:
Every drawing of the chakras out there has one thing wrong and that is that the petals of the lotuses associated with each center of energy are never facing upwards. You may have seen plenty of two dimensional representations, and it is actually quite rare to even see the petals in the drawings (try a Google image search). But, Gregor says, visualizing the petals facing upwards helps with directing the energy in the direction in which it has to go for success.
Just by looking at the cover you will see that this is perhaps the first graph to have the depiction done right, so that whomever looks at it can start visualizing the chakras in a more conducive way.
|Kundalini raising, a nice visual|
2- The Popular Colors We Associate with the Chakras are Wrong:
In the same way, every drawing of the chakras out there has been heavily influenced by artistic liberties. For example, the third chakra (navel) has petals that are blue in color, not yellow, and the fourth chakra (heart) has red petals, not green. From page 160:
“…The correct colours of the petals have been described in the yoga shastra called the Shat Chakra Nirupana, which the great Swami Kuvalayananda has declared to be the authority on chakras. Respected scholars such as Sir John Woodroffe … have confirmed these are the correct colours”
YOGA MEDITATION IS DIVIDED INTO 3 PARTS:
And within each of the three parts there are “laws” that grow in level of refinement, and enchantment. I could not help but get more and more inspired as the pages kept turning.
Part One contains The Laws of the Physical Dimension of Meditation.
And it feels like a recap of previous works. For example: (a) meditation is made possible by raising kundalini, (b) right conditions for meditation (pose, position of hands) (c) prana and apana understanding (d) oceanic breathing (e) alternate nostril breathing (f) extending the time in your inversions, etc.
There is talk about having the right attitude, the right intention, the right motivation as well.
Part one is the ground fertilization, the first part o yoga, the getting healthy so to speak.
Part Two contains The Laws of the Mental Dimensions of Meditation
This part clearly explains how to go about pratyahara, the fifth limb of yoga where the senses go within, and it does so sense by sense.
For example Chapter 11 is called: “Pratyahara is the simultaneous binding of the audio visual, kinesthetic tactile, olfactory and gustatory components of the mind to their respective places“
Gregor then goes on to show how exactly to send each sense into their “respective places”. Take for instance the gustatory sense, how to send it in? Jhiva Mudra (bending the tongue upwards, eventually swallowing it as the yogi becomes more advanced) and , more inversions, very long stays in shoulder stand and headstand.
Then there is the mantras for each of the six chakras (bija mantras) which are: Lam-Vam-Ram-Ham-Yam-Om and the brilliant explanation of what happens as you a) visualize them b) repeat them in increasing amounts decreasing your respiratory rate (for which pranayama helps) and well, you really need to read the rest as I cannot possibly do it justice
Part Three contains the Spiritual Dimensions of Meditation and has one of the best explanations of the chakras I have read.
Gregor rightly feels that the chakras as overdue for a new interpretation. He says:
“I am offering here a new map of the chakras. The reason for creating this new map is that the existing descriptions do not satisfactorily explain the evolution of human society up to this point in history”
Yes, true that!
This is then followed by the most profound description of exactly what happens in meditation, how it is done, how the prana (life force) is invited to flow up the shushumna nadi (central channel of energy responsible for mystical states). How samadhi (or what some call enlightenment) is reached, etc.
Why Only Six Chakras?
The six chakras mentioned in the book are accessed through the breath, says Gregor, but not the other ones, the seventh on for example, the Thousand petaled lotus is accessed “outside of the breathing cycle”.
The chakra does make an appearance in the book, in fact it has its own chapter dedicated to it towards the end.
Let me leave you with this from page 247:
WHEN THE WARNING READS LIKE THIS…
“You will soon notice that if you follow all of these instructions properly it is hard not to enter very quickly into a spiritually exulted state. It is important, however, that you do not jump ahead but master each component of this most powerful meditation technique one step at a time. Otherwise its fruit will not reveal itself”
Some of you have been following the book club on which we have been reading his previous book, Pranayama Breath Of Yoga.
I thought that this could be a good follow up, but as I read and re-read I realize that it would be more appropriate for me to practice. I feel inspired, and I want to work with it, re-read, observe, try, practice.
Perhaps that is where the secrecy part kicks in, whenever an aspiring yogi/student like me gets inspired to just roll out that mat and practice!