On the Highest Yoga
Translated by T. Danilevich
The highest stage of yoga is buddhi yoga. This term is translated as "yoga of consciousness" and denotes a system of methods for developing individual consciousnesses. Buddhi yoga allows a person to traverse the final stages of the personal evolution. Whithin the frame of the "eight-fold path" of the Patanjali's yoga (yama, niyama, asana, pranayma, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi), buddhi yoga represents the content of the eighth stage. There are indications to it in the Bhagavad Gita.
Yama is the stage of studying ethical principles; niyama is the stage of mastering hygienic rules including psycho-hygienic ones; asana is the stage of bringing one's body to the level of perfection necessary for the further work (in India for this purpose they use, first of all, static physical exercises — asanas, but the same effect can be achieved through other systems of training); pranayama is the stage of putting the energetics of the body to order (on the level of chakras, bio-energetic channels, and other structures); pratyahara is the stage of mastering control over the mind including its concentration and stoppage; dharana is the stage of developing the ability of creating and maintaining bright visualized images; dhyana is the stage of mastering the work of consciousness (meditation, in the main meaning of this word); samadhi — all further development (on this stage the following steps may be indicated: Samadhi is a positive emotional state of the highest order accompanying the first contacts with Atman, that is first incidents of consciousness penetration in the highest spatial dimensions, Nirvana is a spread state of consciousness in the highest spatial dimensions with the tendency losing self-sensation in the "Ocean of Clear Light" and capacity of directing one's look from the depth of the multidimensional Ocean of the universe to the "world of matter", then follow "crystallization", Nirodhi, and Mukti information on which is presented below). Probably dharana should be considered as the first sub-stage of dhyana. In such a way general number of stages in the scheme is reduced to seven.
Schools of buddhi yoga known to us, whose heritage is recorded in literary works, were in Tibet, India, Mexico, and China.
Man's development on yoga path has to proceed along three trends: ethical — karma yoga and bhakti yoga, intellectual — jnani yoga and buddhi yoga. These three trends, being mastered, lead to realization of three aspects of Perfection in man: Love, Wisdom, and Power.
The basis of man's spiritual development is composed of ethical component. It is that pivot into which all other attainments of a developing person "grow". And if this pivot is weak or not stable, the whole of construction will not be firm and safe. Most clearly fundamental principles of ethics are formulated in three literary sources: The New Testament, the Bhagavad Gita, and Tao Te Ching; they supplicate each other perfectly. A lot of other works also can help mastering ethics.`
It is important to understand that adequate ethical perfection may take place only if one is quite intelligent person. And psycho-energetic methods can be taught only to those who are properly advanced in both ethical and intellectual aspects. Hence, on the yoga path considerable attention must be given to uplift of knowledge level and intellectual development, and students should be selected for advanced stages of training first of all by intellectual and ethical criteria.
On the path of yoga, intellectual and psycho-energetic trends are closely interwoven with each other, and they should be combined as much harmoniously as possible.
Intellectual and ethical components of perfection are correlated in structural and functional aspects with jiva and the upper "bubble of perception", which combines three upper chakras. As to psycho-energetic development, on higher stages it is connected mostly with buddhi (energy of consciousness) and based on the techniques of work with the lower "bubble of perception". It is the development of the lower "bubble of perception" that allows one to actualize the process of "crystallization" that increases the mass of "buddhi". Then the lower "bubble of perception" gets "open" opening way to mastering dynamic aspects of Nirvana.
Psycho-energetic development, as a rule, can proceed only in the body possessing a certain level of health and preparedness of energetic structures of organism. This potential is developed through hatha yoga or equivalent systems, then — raja yoga (or, in Chinese tradition, — chi-gun). The basis of the latter compose techniques of psychic self-regulation and bio-energetic training which include work with chakras and meridians. These methods bring successful students to the moment when consciousness (buddhi) becomes a reality for them. Then the next stage of self-perfection starts — buddhi yoga — yoga of work with consciousness.
Any sound spiritual school can be allegorically likened with a pyramid composed inside of horizontal "floors" (layers) equal in height. So each higher "floor" becomes lesser in volume than a previous one. This scheme illustrates in particular the idea that each successive stage can be mastered by a lesser number of students than a preceding one. Buddhi yoga stands for the highest "floors" of the pyramid. So naturally very few of those who have started their ascent can get their now. The rest must make stops — each one on his own "floor" — for assimilation of the stages attained and accumulation of power before new ascents.
In fact, big successes in raja yoga are achieved by those who realize at this moment no less than the fourth stage of their psychogenesis. And buddhi yoga may be mastered only by those who have attained to the seventh stage or at least has a real potential to master it in the near future.
In psycho-energetic friend of yoga the following stages can be singled out:
0. Preparatory stage (hatha yoga and equivalent systems).
1. Cleansing of chakras and meridians, development of chakras, perfection of emotional sphere.
2. Attaining to Samadhi through methods of emotional and psychic refinement.
3. Development and securing of localized self-awareness on the subtlest planes beyond the body.
4. Accumulation of "power in subtlety" through, among other means, development of the "hara" (a complex of the three lower chakras).
5. Formation and polarization of the lower "bubble of perception".
6. Attainment of Nirvana.
7. "Crystallization" in the two highest spatial dimensions.
This is the concluding stage of the three "octaves" of psycho-energetic development.
The aim of the second "octave" is attainment of the next principal stage of Nirvana — Nirodhi — through mastering the shift of consciousness into the state of "total reciprocity" ("non-I") in the plane of Brahman.
In the third "octave" the state of Mukti (Moksha) is attained — this is the final rupture of all attachments to any manifestations of the "eathly". Then through techniques mastered in the second "octave" a person merges with the Consciousness of Ishvara.
In the given scheme stages 1 and 2 correspond to raja yoga, stages 3 and 4 are transitional to buddhi yoga and preparing to it, the rest corresponds to buddhi yoga itself.
It must be noted that even the highest states of buddhi yoga by no means exclude social activity of a seeker but even render it more perfect.
Embarking on this path implies acceptance of the ethical fundamentals of yoga and sufficiently high intellectual potential; then ethical and intellectual perfection continues along the whole path.
The given scheme presents the optimum (the easiest and quickest) variant of the development in yoga. In practice, however, representatives of many schools tread longer and more difficult paths as a result of their neglect either of aspiration to achievement of the absolute ethical purity or methods of consciousness refinement.