Longing, desire, bhava in Yoga Meditation

Ooh, how I long to experience that formless Non-dual Mother Divine, that state which is beyond body, breath, and mind, that is my true nature of joy, happiness and bliss; where Shiva and Shakti are one and the same… ooh, how I long to be freeeeeeeeeee.

Om Mahatripurasundari dhimahi
(I meditate on that Most Beautiful One that lives in the 3 cities of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep)

“A candle light is extinguished by the breeze very easily, but if that light is protected and allowed to catch the forest, it will grow into a forest fire. Then the breeze helps that fire instead of extinguishing it. Similarly, when an aspirant, with the help of discipline, protects the flame of desire burning within, it grows more and more.”
~ Swami Rama, from ‘Living with the Himalayan Masters’ pg. 175

 

When you listen to the whispering of your heart, what does it tell you? If an enlightened sage would come to you and offers you to guide you in pursuing that which you long for the most, would you know what that is? What is your deepest longing, if you would allow yourself not to be restricted by doubt, limitations, or fear? What is your goal of life? Or very short and sweetly said; what do you want?
 
Allow yourself to find this ONE desire that makes the heart sing, that makes life a beautiful journey, which describes the final destination; seek to find words for this ONE desire. So that the power of this desire can be utilized and lead you on your journey. How? Let’s make up a story to explain how.

 

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ROUTE DESIRE PRACTICE

Route
To go from the Delhi airport to the Sadhana Mandir Ashram, founded by Swami Rama in Rishikesh using public transportation is quite a journey. After the plane, you first travel by metro from the Delhi Airport to the New Delhi train station, to take a train to Haridwar. When you arrived in Haridwar you catch a bus to Rishikesh, where you take a rickshaw to the ashram. Your journey has included plane, metro, train, bus and rickshaw—which may appear quite complex, but they are all part of the route, and each step takes you a bit further and are all needed to reach your destiny. Each time you shift to another step the vehicle gets smaller, as your direction get more specific. (There are other routes to the ashram, but I use this example to build the story).
 
The same count for the route in meditation: all steps are part of the route and every step gets a little subtler until the destination is reached. First you work with the body, and then you train the breath, so mind is prepared for concentration. The next step is to direct your attention. First you direct your attention to body, then to the breath, and at last you allow the mind to move, so that you can go beyond the mind.
 
Desire
Why would you go through so much effort to get to your destination? …It is the desire to be at the ashram, it is the desire to experience that formless Non-dual Mother Divine. It is this single desire that is the energy behind your travel that makes you go through the whole process of traveling. Without this active desire nothing will happen.
 
What is more important;
that you KNOW THE ROUTE, or that you HAVE THE DESIRE?

If there is no desire, the journey will not take place, so you could say that the desire is more important. But if the desire is there, and the route is unknown you will not end up at your desired destination.
So these two dance together, the desire is the energy to take the journey, and the whole route should be known so you won’t get lost along the way.
 
Practice; you need to walk the path!
Actually there is a third 3 thing needed to end up at your desired destination.
First you need an active desire, second you need to understand the route, and third you need to travel the route. Merely knowing the route and having the desire won’t take you to your final destination; you will have to finish the journey! And to reach your final destination you need to practice. You need to make many attempts to walk the route, so that you get to know the route and won’t get distracted while walking it.
 
The article “meditation; a universal process” and the YouTube “Meditation; a universal process” are put together to explore and understand the route. They explain the whole process of systematic meditation, they walk you through all the steps of the meditation process to take you from where you are at the moment all the way to the final destination; the direct experience of the formless Non-dual Divine Mother. Again, merely understanding the whole route will not bring you to the final destination; it needs to be practiced…and to practice you need a desire…
 
Ooh, how I long to know the formless Non-dual Divine Mother!

 

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DESIRE –> KAMA

When a desire is not active it is stored in the unconscious mind and we call it a samskara, when it wakes up from the unconscious mind and starts to stir the mind-field it is called a desire. Any desire has in itself a wanting-quality, meaning no matter what it wants; it wants! This force is an emotion, and is called kama in Sanskrit. Just as anger, sadness, frustration, greed, jealousy, and happiness are emotions or feelings, so is ‘to want’ an emotion or feeling too. It is the first emotion experienced when a samskara becomes active, and it depends on if the desire is or is not fulfilled what the next emotion will be. This means that wanting something can be experienced separately from emotions that come from fulfilled or unfulfilled desires. And no matter if the desire is or is not fulfilled the emotion ‘to want’ is always there, a desire cannot be a desire without this feeling.
 
The experience of wanting and the emotion that comes after that—depending of a desire is or is not fulfilled—happens before a thought appears in the mind-field (with thoughts we mostly mean words or images). This is important to know. Because if you know that emotions come before thoughts, it means they are more subtle then thoughts. They are the engine that gives power to the thoughts. Emotions are powerful. They are more powerful than thoughts. That they are more powerful can be witnessed when a strong desire is or is not fulfilled and the emotional reaction is so strong that there is no room for the thinking process. Emotions can ‘overrule’ thoughts, leaving no space for words. This ‘quality’ or this power of an emotion, called longing, is a part of bhava (later discussed in more detail). This power can be used if we learn how to use it and how to direct it, so that is comes under our conscious control instead of what it something may appear to be a roller-coaster or whirlpool from which there seems to be no escape.
 
“If you really don’t think of going in a certain direction, you will never end up there. The real motivation for each action is your thought. But there is something even more powerful beneath the thought level, and that is the emotional power within you, a deeper part of your mental process. Emotion is very powerful and if you can use that emotional power, you can attain the highest state of ecstasy in a second’s time. But if you mingle and blend that emotional power with your negative habit patterns, then you are gone!” ~ Swami Rama from “Art of Joyful Living” pg. 29
 
Can you image that if you would allow the longing to experiencing the Non-dual Absolute Reality to grow and would allow it to be active in the mind-field constantly; how much power (of emotion) could come from that desire?
 
Increasing one desire –> decreasing the other desires
Samskaras constantly stir the mind-field and drive the karmas (= actions) in the world, most of them are external orientated. Therefore most of the desires lead you away from your final destination and get you more entangled in the world. What you need is to choose and cultivate ONE desire, one desire that will lead you to the final destination.
 
This means that you will have to sharpen your buddhi. Why?
buddhi is the faculty of mind that knows, discriminates, judges, and decides; it is the intellect or wisdom of the heart. It is the function of mind that should be the function that instruct and guides the other functions of mind (manas, ahamkara, and chitta). If buddhi is not in charge, the other functions will listen to the desires. If buddhi is present, you have a choice of which desires to strengthen. By constantly choosing to strengthen that ONE desire, by constantly being aware of that ONE desire, the other external orientated desires will not get any attention, will not get fulfilled, and will slowly lose their strength. Buddhi can constantly discriminate between ‘useful’ and ‘not useful’, buddhi can constantly be aware of what will bring you closer to your final destination or what remove you from it. And therefore buddhi can choose which desire to fulfill and which not. So it is important to sharpen, purify and strengthen this faculty of mind called buddhi. You can do this by being aware of buddhi, by knowing the mind has this faculty, and by using it! This is why we do yoga; all that we practice, all that we study and share is in the first place to sharpen this faculty of buddhi. A purified buddhi can be used to direct the power of emotion and bhava.
 
This ONE desire is not part of the four primitive fountains
This ONE desire is related to finding your way back home. It is subtler than all the desires in the four primitive fountains; food, sleep, sex, and self-preservation. These four primitive fountains contain desires related to the individual playing in the manifested world. They all, one by one, are directed to the manifested world and thus move the seeker away from the Center of Consciousness, where Pure Consciousness resides. This ONE desire is unique because it is not related to the manifested world but is directed to go beyond it, to leave the manifested world behind. You could say that as soon as avidya happened (though avidya is beginningless) there is also a desire to go back home. Thus, this desire is first, prior to all the other desires. It is buried underneath all other desires. This means that everyone has this desire, but not everyone listens to it. Either because the pile of samskaras is too thick, or we look for it in the external world misunderstanding the whispers of this desire.
 
This ONE desire gets encapsulated by other desires
You could say that all desires have a little of this one desire in it. When Consciousness appears to play as waves, appearing to move from formless to form, it can be experienced like a fountain. This is why we call the basic urges primitive fountains. Out of these fountains all appearing movement seem to happen. If this one desire is even prior to the four primitive fountains, then the ONE desire is present in all the movements that seem to burst forward from the Center of Consciousness. Which explains that we all search for eternal happiness. We know it is there, yet we look in the wrong direction; outward instead of inward. When we allow this ONE desire to become our main desire the outward going stream of external orientated desires can slowly be lead inward.

 

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CONTEMPLATION LEADS TO KNOWING

This ONE desire is the fuel that is needed to be able to direct all your attention inward. This ONE desire supports the cultivation of being undisturbed, unaffected and uninvolved by all other desires. Buddhi has helps to discriminate between useful and not useful. Buddhi has over and over again decided to cultivate this ONE desire. But, there is another function of buddhi that needs to be used. Because, what if, on the side or simultaneous, there has been no contemplation done on what is most inward? What if there is no understanding of where this desire will take you? You have to spend time to come to know and understand this ONE desire. Another function of buddhi is to know, and this needs to be cultivated too, by practicing contemplation.
 
Let’s pick a word… Mine is “to be free”. This is my word for this ONE desire, my ONE longing. Besides cultivating it and allowing it to lead me beyond all desires that keep me in bondage and toward freedom, I have to know what it means to “BE REALLY FREE”. To sit in deep contemplation on what it means to be free will lead me to an understanding of the state of absolute freedom, which is beyond all the desires. Beyond all movements. Beyond all forms. Real freedom is beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep. Real freedom is beyond body, breath and all the levels of mind. Real freedom is another way to describe the Center of Consciousness, Brahman, Tripura, or Pure formless Consciousness.
 
Thus, contemplation leads to a deeper understanding. It will lead you to an understanding that this wish to be free is already here. It is already your true nature. You start to experience a knowing; a knowing that comes from understanding the nature of existence. At first this knowing is a little shaky, because it gets washed over by all other believes of what you think you really are, like body, breath, thoughts and emotions. With repeated contemplation, this knowing becomes more and more unshakable. It becomes a firm understanding on with you can fully stand. This almost unshakable knowing is a part of bhava.

 

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AWE

When you start to grasp the nature of existence… How can you be not overwhelmed by admiration, by wonder, by this unbelievable feeling of astonishment, reverence? HOW CAN YOU NOT BE IN AWE?
 
This feeling or state of awe comes from repeated contemplation, longing, and knowing. It too will expand over time together with the longing and knowing.
 
With this almost unshakable knowing and expansive awe surrender of the not-self is possible. This expansive awe is the last parts of bhava!

 

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BHAVA

Now we have three things that blend together as one unified force: LONGING, AWE and KNOWING. These together are unbelievable strong, it is the force called BHAVA.
 
“Two other sources of knowledge that complement one another are knowledge through the mind and knowledge through emotion. There is always imbalance if we do not understand the importance of both these powers. The power of emotion can help the sadhaka by inspiring him and can raise his consciousness to higher dimensions. Bhava, emotion, should not be lost. It is a great help, a force in the path of self-control. The knowledge that flows through bhava is a great force, and there are no interruptions in that flow. But the knowledge that flows through the mind creates many stagnant pools if it is not allowed to go through the filtration of pure reason. Many times the answer that cannot be figured out by a well-balanced mind are given by bhava, emotion. The stream of knowledge that flows through the mind moves into many nooks and corners, and because of impurities of the mind, this creates small and big stagnant pools, and thus the stream becomes polluted. The stream of bhava is like a river flood. It rushes like a beloved running towards her lover who does not care about any obstacles, and is not afraid of being caught or trapped. In the stream of bhava, one does not have an enjoyable experience of the path, for he suddenly transported. He reaches the summit without experience of the path.” ~ Swami Rama, Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita pg.158+159
 
“Start studying the sayings of the sages and the scriptures from those great people who really practiced. They are very helpful. Dumb devotion is not good. Bhakti is a compound of prema and shraddha, love and devotion, love and reverence. Bhava is controlled emotion. When you know how to work with intellect and emotion both, that is a flight from intellect to intuition.” ~ SWami Rama, Samadhi pg. 209

 

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ALLOW BHAVA TO FLOW

This longing, awe and knowing, bhava, is prior to words formed in our mind-field, this means bhava can be experienced without words. This longing for the union of Shiva and Shakti, and knowing that they were never separated in the first places, can be constantly present, as an uninterrupted flow. In this way you use the most potent power of the mind-field to be constantly aware of Tripura, to be constantly aware that She is your True Nature and you can therefore meditate directly on Tripura. By allowing bhava to flow consciously you can attain the highest state of ecstasy in a second’s time!
 
What do you want?
Understanding the power of bhava hopefully increases the importance of knowing that ONE desire. Do you know this ONE desire? Do you know what you want?
 
Take some time to dive into your heart to find out what the heart is longing for. Make the mind still so that you are not bothered by modesty, so you are able to see beyond the small wishes and desires of daily life and find the deepest, biggest, grandest longing of life. This will allow you to find your words that describe what you think is the highest goal of life. Don’t be blocked by limitations, fears or restrictions, it is your birthright to know your true Self, the experience that Shiva and Shakti are one and the same, to know Brahman, the Non-dual Absolute Reality, the formless Divine Mother. So find the words that describe this in a way your hearts understands it. Choose the words in your own language, so they are not merely big words found in a book or on a website, make it personal, intimate, so this ONE desire can easily bring you to its bhava, to its stillness and silence.
 
Swami Jnaneshvara often speaks that we should know our keyword. This is a playful way to invite us to find this ONE desire. Everyone is using Google, which operates by typing a keyword into the search engine. So he tells us to find our keyword, which is one word that captures that one desire, this deepest longing of the heart. So ask yourself the question; what is that one word which makes my heart sings of joy, which allows the bhava to flow?
 
There are many words that can be used to capture that one desire; love, joy, happiness, peace, fearlessness, expansion, to be free, or to wake up. Remember that whatever you choose it is your word, make it very personal so that it has deep meaning for you, and will be ‘your’ incredible power that helps you on your journey.

 

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EVENTUALLY THE DESIRE ITSELF IS AN OBSTACLE

When all other desires are eaten up by the ONE desire to experience the union of Shiva and Shakti, knowing that they are one and the same, and where never separated in the first places, eventually this ONE desire is the obstacle and needs to be let go off. But it is the last desire that goes. It is the final letting go of even the wish to experience that Shiva and Shakti are one and the same. Every desire is within the domain of mind, and to go beyond mind, you will have to let go of all desires. But until this moment comes, cultivating ONE desire, and using its power on the journey is extremely useful and powerful.
 
How can this ONE desire be let go of? Because the knowing part of bhava takes over. For knowing you don’t need a desire. There comes a point in practice that in the stillness and silence of your heart there is a place that KNOWS THAT IS KNOWS. All that remains of “you” is resting in this place, allowing the bhava to flow, the knowing to flow.. it is the resting place from where the little that is left of “you” will gravitate toward the Self, to Tripura, Pure Consciousness. There is no doing is this place, not attaining, no achieving, only resting in the bhava until grace comes…

 

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MUMUKSHUTVA

In Vedanta there are four means that are cultivated to walk the path of Self-realization. They are discrimination (viveka), non-attachment (vairagya), six virtue (shat sampat; tranquility or shama, training or dama, withdrawal or uparati, forbearance or titiksha, faith or shraddha, and focus or samadhana), and the last of the four means is mumukshutva. Mumukshutva is the intense longing and being in awe of Brahman, which together is knowing that leads you to your final destination. The knowing, longing and awe to go beyond the levels of body, breath, and mind, which are obstacle on the path, which keep you away from knowing the Non-dual Absolute reality. It is a longing that is so strong that it gradually swallows up all of the other, smaller desires.

 

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BHAVA IN THE YOGA SUTRAS

1.27 The sacred word designating this creative source is the sound OM, called pranava.
tasya vachakah pranavah
 
1.28 This sound is remembered with deep feeling for the meaning of what it represents.
tat japah tat artha bhavanam
Yoga Sutras from www.swamij.com
 
In the middle of the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras Patanjali presents a cluster of sutras (1.23-1.29) that talks about AUM as a direct route to the creative source. Or differently said, AUM is a designator of that source. A represent the waking state, U represents the dreaming state, M represents the deep sleep state, and the silence after AUM is the fourth state, called Turiya. Following the sound back to its source or allowing the vibration to bring you to its stillness will lead you to Turiya (the fourth state which is beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep), also known as the Center of Consciousness, Tripura, or a state where Shiva and Shakti are one and the same.
Sutra 1.28 tells you that this sound is remembered with a deep feeling for the meaning of what AUM represents. This deep feeling and understand of the meaning together is bhava. Bhava here is translated as understanding with feeling, absorbing, or dwelling upon. So allowing yourself to cultivate bhava for the meaning of AUM and allow it to direct you all the way beyond the vibration, dwell upon the silence after AUM; it is a direct route to Self-Realization.

 

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MORE SWAMI RAMA ON BHAVA

Sometimes a great teacher teaches his students through silence. The best and deepest of the teachings is not communicated through books, speech or actions, but through silence. That special teaching is understood only when you are silent. The language of that silence sometimes comes to you and that is called sandhya bhava, the emotion of joy and equilibrium. ~ Book unknown
 
During the period of seeking, the student may become too intellectual, ignoring sahaja-bhava (spontaneous intuition); or conversely, he may become too emotional, ignoring his reason. An emotional trip is as dangerous as an intellectual trip; each feeds the ego. Those who do not believe in discipline should not expect enlightenment. No master can or will give it to them just because they want it. ~ Perennial Psychology of Bhagavad Gita
 
The path of devotion is not the emotionalism that leads people toward chanting, dancing, shaking, and tears. It is completely giving until one has nothing further to give. The Lord says, “Empty thy vessel and I will fill thee.” To be completely emptied, one must learn to be like the ocean, for the ocean continually evaporates itself yet is always full. By giving, the same is returned. The law of giving fulfills one. Love is giving and fulfillment. ~ Perennial Psychology of Bhagavad Gita pg. 260

 


 

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Yoga Meditation, Contemplation, and Devotion for Self-realization

This site is an offering to those who deeply long to experience Pure Consciousness that is known as Divine Mother or Tripura (‘Tri’ means three, and ‘pura’ means city); She is the one that lives in the three cities of Waking, Dreaming and Deep Sleep. Temporary leaving behind the three cities and residing only in Pure Consciousness is called Self-realization. Another name for this realization is Yoga; the union of the individual self with the universal Self; the union of Atman with Brahman, or Shiva with Shakti; or the dis-union of Purusha and Prakriti. Some might think of Tripura as an anthropomorphic being but She is not, She is the Non-dual Reality in which all appearing manifestation seems to exist. All that is, is the Non-dual Reality.
 
On this site the teachings of Yoga, Vedanta, and Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra are offered to guide you in learning to meditate directly on Tripura by using modern ways of communication such as through animations, while preserving the ancient wisdom. These teaching have been given to us by an ancient lineage of meditation masters, lovingly called the Tradition of the Himalayan masters. These practices lead us to a space of stillness and silence where Yoga meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer converge into deep devotion and constant awareness of Tripura. At the end of the journey when all efforts are exhausted, grace will dawn. This is known as shaktipata, through which the final barrier is removed, which is the piercing of the bindu, and leads to the direct experience of Non-dual Reality. This finally reveals an unimaginable Joy from knowing the Non-dual Reality or Pure Consciousness!

 

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