By Dr. Swamy Satyam, Ph.D

Abhyaasa-veiraagyaabhyaam tannirodhah.

Meaning: With the help of Abhyaasa and Veiraagya those Vrittis are blocked and then properly channeled.

Note: Abhyaasah – Abhi + aa +aasah. It is the Noun form. The verb root is ‘Asu, gati kshepaNayoh’ the root ‘Asu’ means “to put in motion”, ‘to cause moving’ or ‘to throw.’ In this word it has been used in the meaning of ‘to cause going or moving’, ‘to create movement in’. With the prefixes ‘Abhi’ and ‘Aa’ the verb means to make a thing move properly towards the object with the aim of reaching the goal.

Veiraagyam - This is also a Noun form. The verb root is ‘Ranj raage’ meaning ‘to color’ or ‘to merge in a color’. The love, devotion, etc. are the spiritual colors. This syllable is made of two words in which ‘Vi’ is the prefix, and ‘Ranj’ is the root. The suffix ‘Nyat’ is added to the verb to form a Noun like ‘Bhaagyam.’ The prefix ‘Vi’ has two meanings – ‘away’ and ‘specially’. It is a very beautiful combination. Thus, Veiraagya means ‘to have a special love for one while driving away from the other’. When a person has Veiraagya he drives himself away from the world and plants his special love in God. It means both the ways – i.e. a person gradually drives himself away from the world when he gets specially attached with God, or a person plants his love in God when he drives himself away from the attachment of the world. As both actions happen simultaneously both the conceptions are right. The difference can be found out in the behavior of the person concerned in the form of ‘cause and effect’. One may approach God (effect) because he is fed up with the world (cause) and wants to move on the path of Spiritualism, or one may drive away from the world (effect) because he has experienced the happiness of developing friendship with God (cause). It is just like a girl is fed up with the family and wants to drive away from it to become one with her husband she loves; or as she loves her husband very much she wants to leave the family. Similarly, one may leave the eastern bank of a river because he wants to go to the other bank for some work, or he may just leave the eastern bank forever as he does not like it. If a person drives away in a pensive mood he is leaving it under stress, but if he leaves it in a happy mood it means that he loves the other one more. Similarly, when a person leaves the world in a very happy mood it means that he loves God, and if one leaves it in tears and in a passive mood it means that he is leaving under compulsion. The former Veiraagya is genuine and Saattvika while the latter is Taamasika. The Taamasika Veiraagya does not succeed because the past memories will not leave the person and he may not enjoy that situation. In the later one the person is very happy, is one with God and feels His love. He will be busy in serving God and working as His servant without having any attachment with the world. Wherever he lives is his home, whomever he meets is his friend and he has only one goal in his life and that is ‘to become one with his Father.”

Tannirodhahtat + nirodhah = taasaam nirodhah. ‘Nirodhah’ also has two meanings- Tasmaat Nirodhah and Tasmin Nirodhah.

Driving away is ‘Tasmaat’ meaning ‘to prevent the Vrittis from going towards the objects’. Fixing in is ‘Tasmin’ meaning ‘to fix the senses and mind in God’. The prefix ‘NI’ means ‘nitaraam’ completely, absolutely and forever, etc. Whether a person wants to prevent his senses and mind from moving towards the pleasures of the world, or wants to fix them in God, he must do so absolutely, completely, and eternally. Partial detachment will never help a person to succeed in Nirodha (prevention). Similarly, if a person wants to fix his mind and senses in God he must practice to do so completely at all times. Partial, occasional or flickering concentration will not help a soul in Spiritual advancement.

When a person learns to practice the first five Ashtaangas (Yama, Niyama, Asanaa, PraaNaayaama and Pratyahaara) he must try to do it by putting his body, mind, senses and heart completely in them. Attempting frequently to gain more and more success in this first portion of Ashtaanga is called ‘Abhyaasa’. Yamas and Niyamas prepare a strong mental and spiritual base for Abhyaasa by driving away the emotions like Kama (desires), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (attachment). Earshyaa (jealousy), Dvesha (hatred or enmity), etc. that makes the mind strong and pure. Aasanas strengthen the body and mind and make them healthy and powerful. PraaNayaamas energize the PraaNas and give inner strength and energy to the vital force so it may help a person in facing adversities and obstacles on the way of the spiritual progress. Pratyaahaara, with every instrument so perfectly mended, starts the engine of the spiritual power and moves the boat of the subtle body for driving it away from the worldly objects and towards God. (For details please refer to the book ‘Vedic meditation’ written by the author available from the Vedic University of America.) And to try to fix the mind and soul in the last 3 Angas i.e. DhaaraNaa (fixation), Dhyaanam (concentration or meditation) and Samaadhi (union, merging) constantly, absolutely and totally is called ‘Veiraagya’. The first 5 Angas are related to ‘preventing from’ while the last 3 Angas are concerned with ‘fixing or merging in’. That is why Shri Patanjali has said ‘Tannirodhah’.

Question: Which one should we handle first – Abhyaasa or Veiraagya?

Answer. Handle both everyday. One should practice all the five Angas together. To say that let us learn Aasanas and then we shall do PraaNaayamas will not do. Similarly, you should learn the prayer or meditating in God simultaneously along with the first 5 Angas. They support and reinforce one another. Practicing Yamas and Niyamas certainly help in practicing Asanas and PraaNaayamas and all of them strengthen the mind and heart in practicing Pratyaahaara (drawing the senses and mind from the objects and emotions and drive them towards soul). All these things together help a person in fixing up his mind, heart and soul in DharaaNaa, that takes the soul towards Dhyaanam. A person can easily go up to Dhyaanam. Sammadhi is not for a common man. But certainly, when a person achieves the state of Dhyaanam he gets a flash of Samaadhi. But remember, Samaadhi is not sleeping or Sushupti.

(Excerpt from Satya Surabhi by Dr. Swamy Satyam, Ph.D., The Vedic University of America, San Francisco, USA and International Vedic Satya-Sushama Trust, Bangalore, INDIA)