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Atma Yoga is First 5 states of Patanjali Yoga The Atma Yoga is confined to the first five states of Patanjali

Yoga. It ends at the fifth state called as Pratyahara, which means withdrawing yourself from the bonds of your body and world. The Yama and Niyama deal with control of your interaction with the external world and your body (mini world). The Asana and Pranayama result in the health of body which is again control of diseases. All these are the precautions to avoid the stress and the essence of these five stages is only to cut the second property of the soul (Para Jnanam). The detachment from the body or the world is a defensive measure. The control of food habits etc., the physical exercise along with the breathing exercise are offensive measures to avoid illness in the body. The offensive measure to remove injustice in the world is impossible for you, which God alone can do. Therefore, control of interaction and withdrawal are only mentioned as defensive measures in the case of the external atmosphere (world). The last three states (Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi) are actually related to Nivrutti or God. Dharana means formation of bond, Dhyana means intensifying the bond and Samadhi is fixation of the bond with determination. If you slip from such fixation, it is called as Savikalpa and if you remain permanently it is called as Nirvikalpa. All these three states are extended in Atma Yoga also because the concept of God is absent. Such people interpret these three states as formation, intensification and fixation of the bond with the self only, since self is God for them. For these people the goal is self only. Such self may be limited to the single self in the body (himself or herself), or extended to some closely associated souls (family) or extended to all the souls (Society). In any case the limitation is to self only. All these eight states can be also in the line of Nivrutti. Then the final goal is not the self but the super self (God). A spiritual aspirant also follows the steps up to Pratyahara because he also needs physical and mental health in order to serve God efficiently. Hanuman is the best example for this having the best physical and mental health. The detachment from the body and the world also is required for the attachment to God. The student requires good physical and mental health to study the academic course. The student also requires the detachment from side entertainments like cinemas. Such detachment certainly helps the students in his main activity. In fact the cinema exists as a side entertainment for a change in the main activity. Even to enjoy the cinema, the physical and mental health is essential. Thus, for both theist (student interested in studies) and atheist (student interested in cinemas), the yoga consisting of the eight states is required. The stress in Pravrutti can be compared to the depression of the student when the ticket for the cinema is not available. Such students have forgotten main aim and activity (study). An atheist also behaves in the same way when fails in Pravrutti. The Advaita Philosopher is like the student who says that cinema itself is the study. He is the mad student who says that he has already attained the degree in distinction without study. The atheist does not recognize and even denies the very existence of the college where the study is imparted. The Atma Yoga for such people is just like telling them to forget the cinema and limit to the awareness of self only. The cinema is giving at least some false entertainment where as Atma Yoga gives no

entertainment except the silence of a burial ground. Instead of this, if the student is involved in studies, he derives entertainment from the knowledge. A student who has forgotten cinema by confining to self will certainly remember the cinema after some time and will again feel stress. But a student involved in studies will not be attracted by the cinema since study is giving a better entertainment. The bond with God gives bliss and is very powerful. From such bond nobody can be dragged by other bonds. The bonds with other souls or with the self are dry because the soul is basically inert form of energy only.

Written by His Holiness Shri Datta Swami website address: http://www.universal-spirituality.org e-mail address: swami@universal-spirituality.org Jai Guru Datta