Looking Within

When someone is anxious, they are unaware of time. They are not aware of the moment that is passing. This is because their focus is on the event, on the happening, rather than on the moment. When someone is waiting for a train to arrive, they wait and wait and wait. Next time, try and be aware of the moment.

When the mind is lost in the moment, then that is yoga. When you wait for nothing, yet you wait. It adds a different quality to the conscious mind. This aspect sharpens the mind, the intellect and the heart. This is the yoga of action.

This is the next sutra in Patanjali’s second chapter known as Sadhana Pada. Sadhana pada is a ‘practice on the path’. Tapaha swadhyaya eshwarapranidhanani kriyayogaha is the sutra and it means “Endurance, self-study, devotion to the divine constitutes the yoga of action.”

Kriya yoga is the yoga of action. Action is a part of creation. There is activity in everything in creation. Right from a little atom, to the sun, to the moon, and stars, there is activity. There is nothing that is stable or static in this world. Everything is busy, active. The Brahman, the infinity, is filled with infinite activity. There is absolutely no silence at all!

Even in sleep there is activity. You think you are sleeping, but in sleep, there appears to be more activity. The body grows more in sleep than when you are awake. Do you know that? In the child, every cell is multiplying as he sleeps. That is why a growing child sleeps longer. The young sleep longer than the elderly because there is a lot of activity, mostly metabolic, going on in the body. The body is built when you are young. If you deprive somebody of sleep, their growth is stunted.

Even in silence, there is activity. At the same time, in every activity there is a corner which is silent. Krishna tells Arjuna, “Arjuna, do you know who is really intelligent and clever? One, who sees silence in activity and activity in silence, That is a truly intelligent person.”

Now, how does one see silence in activity and activity in silence? It needs sharpness of awareness, alertness of the mind and keenness of the senses. That keenness can come when there is skill in your activity. That skill in activity is Kriya yoga or the yoga of action.

What is Kriya Yoga? It comprises of three parts. First, there is Tapas, which means endurance or acceptance. Say for example, you are traveling in a plane on a long distance flight. You have been sitting for long and you find your legs are getting numb. You are tired, yet you keep sitting. You feel heavy, yet you keep sitting. You cannot say. “Oh! I cannot sit any longer; I am going to get out of the plane.” No way! If the plane is delayed or held up in the air, you still have to sit there. There is no choice. Now, if you had a choice, you would not sit for eight hours like that in one place. But in a plane you sit, accepting it, willingly, without grumbling. That is tapas! In the same way, if you are hungry, you say, “No, I am fasting. I want to have a cleansing diet. I want to cleanse my body. So I am just going to fast on juice or water.” You decide on your own to do some action, which is not usual. And you do it, without grumbling. Tapas is really experiencing the opposite values without grumbling.

You know that it is beneficial and the result of this action is very good, and therefore you go ahead with it however difficult it is. People go to the gymnasium. It is difficult and gives no pleasure yet one does it. Why? They know that it is good for their system. This endurance is called tapas.

Second is Swadhyaya or self-study or introspection. This means observing your own thoughts and emotions. Where do these emotions come from? Where do the thoughts come from? What is happening inside you? Studying yourself is swadhyaya.

Third is Eashwara pranidhana, which means devotion to the divine or love for the divine.

These three things make up Kriya Yoga.