Diwali, the festival of light and Yoga.
Diwali is universally understood. At its heart, Diwali celebrates the triumph of light(goodness, wisdom, hope) over darkness (evil, ignorance, despair).
The image most strongly associated with Diwali is the deepa (a clay lamp), lit and arranged in rows (awali), a symbol of the light within each of us.
The aim of the yogis is to “lighten up,” purifying the body through asana, pranayama, and other practices.
As the veil of ignorance lifts, we see the bright light within—the true self or Atman.
In the context of Yoga, light (or flame) is used to describe our awareness. The more awake and elevated we are in awareness, the flame of awareness is shining bright. When we are lethargic, the flame of awareness is dull. When our mind is filled with too many turbulent thoughts, the flame of awareness is unsteady, it is flickering. One of the aims of yoga is to make the flame of awareness shine bright (ie., elevate our awareness) and at the same time, hold the flame steady (ie., peaceful, without agitation).
Maharishi Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, refers to light in several of the sutras.
1. Vishoka va Jyotismati,
(Chapter 1, Sutra 36)
Meaning – sadness or misery can be removed by introducing the light of awareness.
Vishoka : without sorrow
Va : or,
Jyotismati : Luminous, full of Light.
The mind can be made steady and controlled by manifesting the serene luminosity within by concentrating on Nada or bhrumadhya the centre of the eyebrows. The inner illumination is very serene, calm, quiet and peaceful; it is not a sharp illumination. It can be experienced while doing deep meditation.
Patanjali is not talking about it here; he means the inner light which is quiet. The mind can be brought under control by experiencing the serene light. There are many methods do with the light can be seen. One of them is concentration on the centre of the eyebrow; another one is concentration on nada ( sound )
2. Tatah kshiyate prakasavaranam,
(Chapter 2, Sutra 52)
Meaning – Then (by practicing Pranayama or breath work), the curtain of darkness that covers the inner light is thinned, and subsequently removed.
Tatah = thereby;
kshiyate= disappears ;
avaranam = covering, curtain).
Patanjali gives this sutra to describe one of the benefits of doing Pranayamas – breath work.
By the practice of Pranayama the psychic centres are activated and as a result, the covering of knowledge is removed.
Prakasha here means psychic centers. The psychic centres are usually covered or veiled due to sense experiences. The luminosity of these subtler vehicles is limited or covered by the physical matter of the brain.
That covering is removed by Pranayama. This kind of removal of covering of physical matter over the psychic faculty is called the removal of the covering of light. It means that when you have practice Pranayama something happens in you by which the psychic powers are released from the veil or control or obstructions of the physical mechanism of the brain.
Energy is released even when you switch on the light or the fan. Pranayama creates a similar condition in the brain by which the inherent psychic faculties are released.
Author :: Jagdish Singh
Author is student to PG department of Yoga Ranchi University, Ranchi.