Reply To: Modes and Methods of Meditation

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Pradhana-Gopika DD

Thank you for the vivid description of the three bodies and the different kinds of ether. I think gradually I will understand.

Yes, sometimes the terms gross, subtle, and causal are used. And sometimes, the terms gross, gendered, and subtle are used. The former terminology is used in some Purāṇa, while the latter is used in the Sāñkhya Sūtra. In my response above, I used the Sāñkhya Sūtra terminology.

I see.

Yes, in Sāñkhya system, the terms Vaikharī, Madhyamā, Paśyantī, and Parā are used. And in the Yoga system, the terms Waking (jāgrata), Dreaming (svapna), Deep Sleep (suśupti), and Transcendent (turīya) are used. Sāñkhya and Yoga are mutually aligned systems, but Sāñkhya is more theoretical and Yoga is more practical. But both terminologies mean the same thing.

Ok, I understand.

There are many ways to describe the four systems, but in Bhagavad-Gita, the hierarchy is that Jñāna is the lowest, Dhyāna is higher, Karma is even higher, and Bhakti is the highest. This presentation discusses the Bhagavad-Gita verses along with the hierarchy, as it is presented by Lord Krishna. Again, if we understand the inverted tree-like structure, then we can see why these are not strictly like layers upon layers. Rather, each process leads to some progress in the other process.

From your above mentioned presentation I understand that you define karma-yoga as work for Krishna. What I understood from Bhagavad-gita is that karma-yoga is the lowest stage in the yoga-ladder as it is defined as performing prescribed duties with detachment from the fruits of one’s work (nishkama-karma-yoga). What you call karma-yoga is karma-misra-bhakti, according to my understanding.

Therefore, the best thing is to understand the four processes, and then understand that bhakti-yoga practice requires all the processes. In the perfectional stage of bhakti-yoga, the other three are disregarded, because they are already byproducts of pure bhakti. But they are important during the practice stage. Hence, a misconception is created that because in the perfectional stage the other three are disregarded, therefore, they must not be important from the get-go. Thus, devotees neglect knowledge, detachment, mental and physical health, and they pay a big price for it ultimately in their devotional practice. We have to take care of all these things even as we practice devotion.

That’s a good point.

For example, the practice of bhakti with knowledge, detachment, and confidence is simply summarized in the statement “Chant and Be Happy”. This “Be Happy” is the combination of knowledge, detachment, and confidence. The problem is that we can be chanting, but we are very unhappy due to some reason. Then, the chanting slowly loses effect, because bhakti has to be performed in a happy mood.

I think we are unhappy, because we don’t chant properly. Nut, yes, the question is what it needs to chant properly.