Friday, October 22, 2010

GorakhNath and the Nath Yogis


How Can You Name the Nameless? –

Baba Gorakh Nath Ji's Holy Words

An English rendering of the Hindi translation of verses of the famous Sant Mahayogi Baba Gorakhnath ji (circa 11th /12th century) by Maharshi Mehi Paramhans ji Maharaj (1885-1986), taken from the latter's book "Santwaani Sateek" (Commentary on Sayings of Sants). Baba Gorakhnath ji (also Gorakshanath ji) is said to be the disciple of Baba Matsyendranath ji. He was the most prominent Sant in the Nath Tradition, and is traditionally associated with `hatha yoga'. However, his verses clearly show that he practiced the `drishti yoga' (Yoga of Divine Light) and `shabda yoga' (Yoga of Divine Sound). -- English Translation by Pravesh K. Singh

"BastI na shUnyam shUnyam na bastI, agam agochar aisA |
Gagan shikhar manh bAlak bolanhi, wAkA nAnv dharahuge kaisA ||01||"


God is incomprehensible (or beyond intellect), and imperceptible (or beyond the grasp of sense-organs), is such that He is neither inhabited (filled) nor empty. His voice or sound is extremely melodious like that of an innocent kid or child. How would you name, or give name to, Him? That is, He can't be ascribed any name. ||1||


Other Sants have also expressed similar opinions regarding unfeasibility of giving a name to God. For instance, please have a look at the following references:

"JAkA nAm akahuA bhAi | TAkar kahAn ramainI gaI ||
(Sant Kabir Sahab)
[His name is indescribable; how would you repeat or recite His name?]

"Jo koi chAhai nAm, so nAm anAm hai |
Likhan padhan me nAhI, nihachchhar kAm hai ||"

(Sant Paltu Sahab)
[If anyone wants to know His name, (he/she should know that) He is Nameless, or has no name. He can not be brought within the ambit of reading and writing, or being represented by means of any alphabets.]

"Ek anIh arUp anAmA \ Aj sachchidAnand paradhAmA ||"
(Goswami Tulsidas)
[He is one, without any desires, form or name. He is unborn, eternal, conscious and full of (never-ending) bliss. He is beyond everything or all domains.]

"Aghosham avyanjanam aswaram cha akanThatAlvoshTham anAsikam cha |
Aref jAtam ubhayoshTha varjitam yadaksharam na ksharate kadAchit ||"

(Amritnad Upanishad)
[He can not be pronounced with the help of any of the consonants and/or vowels nor by using any points or places of pronunciation within our mouth like the throat, palate, nose, lips etc. He decays or declines never.]

The Supreme Soul or God is knowable to the soul alone. He is such that we can neither call Him filled/ pervaded/ inhabited nor empty. He is beyond any (material) existence as well as emptiness or void or nothingness, beyond consciousness & non-consciousness. He is supernatural or transcendental. His voice, word or name emanates from the top of the sky or the place of origin of the creation, and keeps ringing (throughout the universe or creation) as an exceptionally sweet, charming melodious sound. This sound is phonetic or onomatopoeic and, hence, indescribable. His sound has been said to be coming from the domain of sky [another dimension] because God is believed to be beyond all elements of nature. It is only on reaching into this domain that God can be seen or realised. One should look for the soul there only. Again, He has been likened to a small child or toddler for the reason that He, too, is untouched by any sins or virtues just as a child is. Meditating on the inner sound, the practitioner upon entering into the divine conduit (Sushumna) passes sequentially through different spheres of sounds in the increasing order of their subtlety or fineness to eventually arrive into the realm of the Subtlest Sound and is able to realise God in the end.


"Gagan mandal mein aundhA kuvAn, jahAn amrit kA vAsA |
SagurA hoi so bhar-bhar pIyA, nigurA jAy pyAsA ||4||"


In the inner sky (void or the Divine Door) there is an inverted well. It is closed at top, covered with the skull. There is a door to enter into the head from below; elixir of consciousness is found here. Only he who has sought refuge of a true Guru can sip this elixir, because only Guru can teach the way to that (elixir). The initiated can gain entry into this inverted well by practicing diligently the art taught by the Guru and is able to drink that elixir to his heart's content. He, on the other hand, can not drink this elixir (can't get access to it) and remains thirsty who has not had a Guru.||4||


This elixir (of consciousness current) is first perceived in the form of light and is got hold of by the inner eye (sight):

"VidvAn samagrIvashiro nasAgra drigbhrUmadhye | Shashabhridvimbam pashyannetrAbhyAmamritam pivet ||"
(Shandilya Upanishad)

[The learned person should hold his neck and head erect in a (vertical) straight line, see the moon within by keeping his gaze fixed in the front of his nose between the two eyebrows, and relish the elixir through his inner eyes.]


"Gorakh bolai suNahu re avadhU, panchaun pasar nivArI |
ApanI AtmA Ap vichAro, sovo pAnv pasArI ||5||"


Gorakhnath ji says, "Listen O yogi! Think of (reflect on) your own soul restraining the demands or urges of your five senses and preventing them from their outward scattering or wandering; and, thus, sleep peacefully (live without any worries).


"AisA jAp japo man lAI | Soham soham ajapA gAI ||
Asan dridha kari dhAro dhyAn | Ahinisi sumirau brahma giyAn ||
NAsA agra nija jyon bAI | IdA pingalA Madhya samAI ||
Chhah sai sahans ikIsau jAp | Anahad upajai Apai Ap ||
Bank nAli mein Ugai sUr | Rom-rom dhuni bAjai tUr ||
Ultai kamal sahsradal bAs | Bhramar gufA mein jyoti prakash ||6||"


Practice mental recitation with such an intensity that the mantra of `soham', `soham' is pronounced mentally, produced without your doing so out loud. Sit firmly in (the prescribed) posture and meditate. Contemplate day & night on the divine (knowledge). When His name is recited 21,600 times a day (incessantly through all the 8 pahars – division of time consisting of 3 hours each – of day & night) with the vital breath which extends in the Sushumna (the central of the three principal yogic nerves) up to the front or starting portion of nose (prAnavAyu or the vital breath is believed to extend up to a distance equal to twelve times a finger's breadth from the two nostrils; hence, this vital breath or air is also said to be dwAdashAngul or "twelve times a finger's breath"), then the divine Sound is perceived automatically, the Sun rises (is visualized) in the `bank-nAl', the curved tube or the Sushumna, and the divine melody of innumerable varieties begins to vibrate through each & every pore of the body. When withdrawing inwardly, away from the six chakras located within the body, the surat or the current of consciousness comes to dwell in the sahasra-dal-kamal (the Region of the Thousand-petalled Lotus) and the bhramargufa or the brahma-randhra is illuminated with the radiance of the Self (Soul). ||6||


A healthy man breathes (nearly) 21,600 times a day (of 24 hours). Reciting (the sacred mantra as given by the Guru) 21,600 times everyday (that is, reciting the mantra with every breath) transforms one's mental propensities making it inwardly, removed from the gross sensory objects, enhances his concentration power; such a man gets, automatically, to listen to the `anahad nada' (divine sounds of countless types) within himself. (In fact) anahad nada is vibrating always, all the time, in each of us, but is not heard or perceived (by ordinary people) because of the agitation/ restlessness of and outwardly disposition of the mind. The process of practicing to listen to (or meditate upon) the inner sound is variously termed `nadanu-sandhan', `surat-shabda yoga', nirguna nama bhajan', `nama dhyan' etc. This means (of nadanusandhan) augments the concentration of mind, helps the surat or the current of consciousness ascend higher & higher gradually and ultimately takes it to God thus enabling it to attain total liberation. Upanishads have profusely sung the virtues of meditating on inner word or sound. Consider, for instance, the following hymns:

"Makarandam pivanbhringo gandhAnnApekshate yathA |
NAdAsaktam sadA chittam vishayam na hi kAnkshati |
Baddhah sunAda gandhen sadyah santyakta chApalAh ||"

[Like a honey-bee which does not care for the fragrance or smell of the flower while it is sucking its nectar, the current of consciousness, which is always lost in listening to the inner divine sound, no longer craves for the outward objects, because it has been captivated by the charming sweetness of the inner word, and sheds its restless character.]

"NAda grahanatashchittamantaranga bhujangamah |
Vismritya vishwamekAgrah kutrachinna hi dhAvati ||"
[By perseverant practice of nadanu-sandhan, attention gets completely absorbed in the inner divine sound. It forgets the objects of senses and strays not from the divine sound.]

"Manomattagajendrasya vishayodyAnachArinah |
NiyAman samarthoayam ninAdo nishitAnkushah ||

[For a mind which keeps strolling wildly like a frenzied elephant through the garden of sensory objects, nada or the divine word acts like a mahaut's sharp pointed hook to bring the crazy elephant (mind) under control.]

"NAdontaranga sArang bandhane vAgurAyate |
Antarangasamudrasya rodhe velAyatepi vA ||
[To restrain or tie the mind behaving like a restless deer, the nada acts like a trap or snare. To arrest the mind acting like the rising waves on a sea, the nada is like the seashore (reaching where the waves are automatically broken).]

"NAsti nAdAtparo mantro na devah swAtmAnah parah |
NAnusandheh parA pUjA na hi tripte param sukham ||"

[There is no mantra superior to the nada, no god greater than one's own soul. There is no worship higher than searching or exploring God, and no bliss greater than contentment.]

"SarvachintAm parityajya sAvadhAnen chetasA |
NAd evAnusandheyo yogasAmrAjyamichchhitA ||"

[The seekers of the kingdom or the empire of yoga (or unison) should explore the nada precisely forsaking all other worries.]

"BIjAksharam param vindum nAdam tasyopari sthitam |
Sashabdam chAkshare kshIne nihshabdam paramam padam ||"

[The `bindu' or the absolute point is the seed of all the alphabets. Nada is situated above (beyond) the bindu. The nada, too, is lost or disappears in the Soundless State, the eternal Brahma.]

"Aksharam paramo nado shabdabrahmeti kathyate |"

[The indestructible supreme nada (AnAhat NAda or the Quintessential Unstruck Sound) is also called shabda-brahma.]

"Dve vidye veditavye tu shabdabrahma param cha yat |
ShabdabrahmaNi nishNAtah param brahmAdigachchhati ||"

[Two sciences or fields of knowledge are worth learning – one is the shabda-brahma and the other is the Supreme Brahma or God. He who has become adept or accomplished in (the practice of) shabda-brahma attains to the Supreme Brahma (God).]

"Shabda khoji man vasha karai, sahaj yoga hai yehi |
Satta shabda nij sAr hai, yah to jhUthI dehI||
YahI badAI shabda kI, jaise chumbak bhAya |
BinA shabda nahi Ubarai, ketA karai upAya ||"
(Sant Kabir Sahab)

[To subjugate the mind by exploring or practicing to perceive the shabda is the natural or spontaneous yoga. The true shabda is one's essence, while this body (which we treat as our own) is illusory, fictitious, or unreal. The specialty or the greatness of the shabda lies in that it acts like a magnet (attracting the practitioner's attention or the current of consciousness making it focused or concentrated). Total emancipation is not possible without the help of shabda, regardless of all other efforts.]

"SAkati nari shabad surati kiu pAiai |
Shabad surati binu Aiai jAiai ||"
"Dhuni anandu anAhadu bAjai |
Guri shabadi niranjanu pAiyA ||"
(Guru Nanak)

[How can a man who has no guru perceive the shabda or nada? Without having perceived the shabda he remains trapped in the (painful) cycle of transmigration.

The blissful, joy-giving shabda is ceaselessly ringing within. Having perceived the shabda, as taught by Guru, one attains to God who is beyond all sorts of illusion.]

More Verses---Sayings of GorakhNath:

"KhAe bhI mariye anakhAye bhI mariye | Gorakh kahai putA sanjami hI tariye ||7||"


Overeating leads to death, and so does fasting. Therefore, O Son! says Gorakhnath Ji, only those who exercise restraint, and adopt the middle path (of neither overeating nor fasting), get rid of miseries.||7||


"DhAye na khAibA bhUkhe na maribA |
Ahinisi lebA brahmagini ka bhevam ||
Hath nA karibA, pade na rahibA |
YUn bolyA Gorakh Devam ||8||"


Do not hanker after eating, do not eat too much. Do not remain entirely hungry either. Keep on practicing, day and night, the secret art of meditation which leads to visualization of the Divine fire (light) within. Neither subject your body to extremities or obstinate practices, says Gorakhnath Ji, nor keep on sleeping the whole day (or be lazy). ||8||


"Kai chalibA panthA, ke sIvA kanthA |
Kai dharibA dhyAn, kai kathibA jnAn ||9||"


Lead a life of moderation irrespective of whatever you do – whether you are walking on road, stitching the rags, meditating, or teaching others. ||9||


"Habaki na bolibA, Thabaki na chalibA, dhIre dharibA pAvam |
Garab na karibA, sahajai rahibA, bhanant Gorakh rAvam. ||10||"


Do not talk hastily, do not walk hastily. Keep your feet mildly & slowly on the ground. Do not be vainglorious, conceited or arrogant. Live a natural and plain life, exhorts Gorakhnath Ji ||10||


"Gorakh kahai sunahu re abadhU, jag mein aise rahaNA |
Ankhe dekhibA, kAne sunibA, mukh thain kachhU na kahaNA ||
NAth kahai tum ApA rAkho, hath kari bAd na karaNA |
Yahu jag hai kAnTe kI bAdI, dekhi drishTi pag dharaNA ||11||"


Gorakhnath Ji says, "O hermit! Listen! Live thus in the world (like an onlooker) – see with your eyes, hear with your ears, but say nothing (that is, do not get involved in all the drama)." ||

Gorakhnath Ji further says, "Live alertly in this world. Do not argue or debate. This world is a garden of thorns, so look well before you keep your foot down (i.e. watch well before you act). ||11||


"Man mein rahanA, bhed na kahanA, bolibA amrit bAnI |
AgikA agini hoibA abadhU, ApaN hoibA pANI ||9||"


Abide within, do not speak out (unnecessarily), and talk sweetly. Ignorant people would vent anger at you, but keep your cool, retain your politeness. ||12||

"Avai sangai jAi akelA | TAthain Gorakh Ram ramelA ||
KAyA hans sangi hwai AvA | JAtA jogI kinahu na pAvA ||
JIvat jag mein muA samAN | PrAN puris kat kiyA payAN ||
JAmaN maraN bahuri viyogI | TAthain Gorakh bhailA yogI ||03||"


The conscious soul comes into this world accompanied by, or attached to, a body; but while leaving the world it departs alone leaving the (gross) body behind. This is why Gorakh Nath, rejecting all attachment to the body & bodily pleasures, keeps himself engrossed in, or takes delight, in Ram or God alone. Accompanying body the soul came to this world. However, no one could see a yogi parting the world leaving his body behind. Such a yogi lives in the world like a dead or a lifeless person. Nobody is aware of where has the prAn purush (the conscious soul) gone. Seeing the inevitability of being born and dying again and again, and seeing the inevitability of painful separation from the body everytime, Gorakhnath turned a yogi severing all attachment with the body. ||2||


The pleasure of body is the same as the pleasure of senses. The joy that is derived out of this is a short-lived joy, evanescent joy. Therefore, we should get absorbed, renouncing this sensual pleasure, in the all-pervading Supreme Soul, or Ram; this would yield permanent bliss, eternal bliss. A yogi departs this world, throwing off all bodily attachments permanently. Nobody, neither angels nor the lieutenants of Yamaraj, the Death God, are able to find or catch him; they can catch hold of only such persons who are not yogis. Such souls, being under the subjugation of death, have to leave, though unwillingly or against their will, the gross body & the world, controlled by the force of death. However, such souls, even after death (of the body), remain tied to other types of body namely, the astral body, the causal body and the supra-causal body; and even the desire to remain attached to the gross body persists. Therefore, it will keep on assuming, or getting tied to, (newer) gross bodies by getting born again and again and being caught by the messengers of the Death God again and again. A yogi, on the other hand, by attending satsang, serving the Guru and practising the ways to unite with the God comes to realise the evanescence and the traumatic end of all the gross bodies and attraction for related enjoyments, and, therefore, completely renounces all sorts of such attachments. Thus, he, with the grace of Guru and God, becomes his own master…and when he departs this world, at his own free will, he does so snapping all the worldly and bodily ties; nobody can catch hold of such a Yogi. The very cause of his rebirth is annihilated and he attains total freedom by merging into God:

"PrayAnkAle manasAchalen bhaktyAyukto yogabalen chaiv | Bhruvormadhye prAnam Aveshya samyak sa tam param purushamupaiti divyam ||"
(Shrimad Bhagvad Gita, Chap. 8 Hymn 10)

[He who, at the time of his death, fills his mind with devotion and focuses/ concentrates the currents of consciousness at (a point in front of) the centre of the two eyebrows by the power of Yoga, attains to that Supreme Being, that is, God.]

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