Elaborating the yogic steps leading from posture to profound unification

The following are selected excerpts from Dr. S. P. Sabharathnam’s translation of the Raurava Agama’s yoga pada, chapter 1.

2-3. Only that person who has known well the nature of meditator, meditation and the fruit of meditation is fit enough to undertake the disciplines of yoga. The individual self is the meditator. Mind is meditation. The Great Lord Siva is the One to be meditated upon. The attainment of the supreme qualities of Siva, superior to which there is nothing, is the fruit of meditation.

4. Keeping the mind balanced well when honored or abused, and in the same way when delighted or distressed, and having completely freed himself from being subject to excessive delight, fearfulness and despondency, the sadhaka should repeatedly practice the disciplines of yoga.

7. Having taken the usual ceremonial bath and having performed the succeeding rites—such as besmearing with vibhuti and sprinkled with consecrated water—having prostrated before Siva and his acharya (guru) who has initiated him into the discipline of yoga, the sadhaka should attentively involve himself in the disciplines of yoga.

9. Having assumed a posture compatible to him and folding the hands together to express supplication, and keeping his body upright, having well aligned his head and having abandoned all the negative thoughts from his mind, the sadhaka should practice yoga, with his mind well established within his own self.

10. Without allowing the teeth to touch and without allowing the tongue to touch the corners of the mouth, keeping his eyes half-closed and raised, the sadhaka should repeat the mulamantra of Siva in a perfect way as instructed by his guru.

13. Having equalized the outbreath and inbreath (prana and apana) and having enabled the breath to flow through within the central channel (sushumna) and having arrested the workings of inbreath and outbreath, the well-skilled sadhaka should deeply meditate on Lord Siva.

14. Through the continued practice of such discipline, the sadhaka becomes capable of establishing himself in unfailing and inseparable union with the luminous form which is extremely subtle, pervasive, eternal and immutable.

16. By the practice of breath-control, the sadhaka incinerates all the defilements. By concentration, he annihilates all of his sinful effects. By sense-withdrawal, he maintains himself completely free from the negative thoughts and vices. And by meditation, he becomes capable of nullifying the effects of even those qualities which do not decay.

23. The sadhaka who has known well the system of yoga should increase the duration of pranayama by one tala (a unit of counting) day by day. Increasing the duration of pranayama should not be done very swiftly or very slowly. He should increase the duration gradually and in due order.

25. Then the sadhaka becomes capable of perceiving directly the five subtle elements—smell, taste, form, touch and sound (gandha, rasa, rupa, sparsha and shabda).

27. Then he sees all those tattvas which are above the subtle elements—ahankhara, manas, buddhi, guna, prakrti and purusha—all these tattvas as associated with their respective forms and qualities become evidently manifest to him.

28. Then, having seen the tattvas vidya, kala, kala, maya and suddha vidya one by one in their due order, the sadhaka should dissociate himself from these tattvas by severing them with the mantra of Sivaastra.

29. Then the sadhaka is able to see Ishvara tattva, the location of eight Vidyeshvaras, and then the supreme Sadasiva tattva. Having severed his bonds connected with these tattvas with the mantra of kshurikastra, he should enter the foremost tattva known as Siva tattva, which is subtle and unreachable even to the sages.

30. The knower of this supreme yoga system, having entered into the highest and subtle Siva tattva, becomes immortalized, evolves to become the knower of all, doer of all, indweller of all, seer of all and the lord of all, comparable to Siva.

31. In all the Agamic scriptures, the four eternal existents which are to be essentially known have been explained. They are—pashu, pasha, pati and Siva. These are to be known systematically as set forth in the Agamas.

32. Having known in this way the ultimate One, which is formed of eternal tattvas and which is the quintessence of all the revealed scriptures, the sadhaka evolves into a liberated embodied being (jivanmukta). Even though he may be wandering in this world like an ordinary human being, for him this is the last embodiment. He will never get embodied hereafter.

Dr. S. P. Sabharathnam Sivacharyar, of the Adisaiva priest lineage, is an expert in ancient Tamil and Sanskrit, specializing in the Vedas, Agamas and Silpa Shastras.