|Baba Gorakhnath Ji Maharaj is the famous Sant Mahayogi (circa 11th /12th century). He is said to be the disciple of Baba Matsyendranath ji. His verses clearly show that he practiced the 'Drishti Yoga' (Yoga of Divine Light) and 'Shabda Yoga' (Yoga of Divine Sound).|
| Bastee na shoonyam shoonyam na bastoo, agam agochar aisoo ||
gagan shikhar manh baalak bolanhi, waakaa naanv dharahuge kaisaa ||1||
sapt dhaatu kaa kaayaa pyanjaraa, taa maanhi jugati bin soovaa |
satguru milai to ubarai baaboo, nanhi to parlai hoovaa ||2||
aavai sangai jaai akelaa | taathain Gorakh Ram ramelaa ||
kaayaa hans sangi hwai aavaa | jaataa jogee kinahu na paavaa ||
jeevat jag mein muaa samaan | praan puris kat kiyaa payaan ||
jaaman maran bahuri viyogee | taathain Gorakh bhailaa yogee ||3||
gagan mandal mein aundhaa kuvaan, jahaan amrit kaa vaasaa |
saguraa hoi so bhar-bhar peeyaa, niguraa jaay pyaasaa ||4||
Gorakh bolai sunahu re avadhoo, panchaun pasar nivaaree |
apanee aatmaa aap vichaaro, sovo paanv pasaaree ||5||
aisaa jaap japo man laayee | soham soham ajapaa gaayee ||
aasan dridha kari dhaaro dhyaan | ahinisi sumirau brahma giyaan ||
naasaa agra nij jyon baayee | idaa pingalaa madhya samaayee ||
chhah sai sahans ikeesau jaap | anahad upajai aapai aap ||
bank naali mein ugai soor | rom-rom dhuni baajai toor ||
ultai kamal sahsradal baas | bhramar gufaa mein jyoti prakash ||6||
khaae bhee mariye anakhaaye bhee mariye |
Gorakh kahai putaa sanjami hee tariye ||7||
dhaaye na khaaibaa bhookhe na maribaa |
ahinisi lebaa brahmagini ka bhevam ||
Hath naa karibaa, pade na rahibaa |
yoon bolyaa Gorakh devam ||8||
kai chalibaa panthaa, ke seevaa kanthaa |
kai dharibaa dhyaan, kai kathibaa jnaan ||9||
habaki na bolibaa, thabaki na chalibaa, dheere dharibaa paavam |
garab na karibaa, sahajai rahibaa, bhanant Gorakh raavam. ||10||
Gorakh kahai sunahu re abadhoo, jag mein aise rahanaa |
ankhe dekhibaa, kaane sunibaa, mukh thain kachhoo na kahanaa ||
naath kahai tum aapaa raakho, hath kari baad na karanaa | yahu jag hai kaante kee baadee, dekhi drishti pag dharanaa ||11||
man mein rahanaa, bhed na kahanaa, bolibaa amrit baanee |
aagikaa agini hoibaa abadhoo, aapan hoibaa paanee ||12||
Enlish translation: —
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:
"Jaakaa naam akahuaa bhaai | Taakar kahaan ramainee gayee ||"
— Sant Kabir Sahab
[His name is indescribable; how would you repeat or recite His name?]
"Jo koi chaahai naam, so naam anaam hai |
likhan padhan me naahee, nihachchhar kaam 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 aneeh aroop anaamaa |
aj sachchidaanand paradhaamaa ||"
— Goswami Tulsi Das
[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 akanthataalvoshtham anaasikam cha |
aref jaatam ubhayoshtha varjitam yadaksharam na ksharate kadaachit ||"
— 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 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 here only. Again, He has been likened to a small kid or toddler for the reason that He, too, is untouched by any sins or virtues just as a kid 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.
|This body of ours is a cage made up of seven elements. In it is the individual (un-liberated) soul held captive, or encaged, like a parrot inside a cage, because it is ignorant of the skill or the art of getting liberated (from this cage). If it (the soul) is fortunate enough to find a true Guru, it can (by learning & practicing the right way) be emancipated, or else its salvation or deliverance is impossible and it is sure to undergo extreme suffering. ||2|||
[The Story of the Parrot and the Sage —
Once upon a time there lived a hermit. He made his livelihood on alms. Everyday he would go to a limited number of houses and say aloud, "Ram Ram Karai, Bhavasagar Tarai" (One who keeps on reciting the name of Lord, swims across the ocean of existence, i.e. transcends the cycle of birth & death). He subsisted solely on whatever he received from these few houses. One day as he was asking for alms at a house, an encaged parrot, at the door of the house, who had been listening to his repeated chanting, "Ram Ram Karai BhavAsagar Tarai", got annoyed and intervened, "Baba! Why are you preaching a falsity?" "Why? What makes you say so, my dear?" asked the recluse. The parrot explained, "What you say might be true in theory, but it is not true practically. You might have learnt this theory from some books, or must have heard from other sages, and keep on repeating the same thing without having examined its truth; I know the reality. You see, my master has taught me to chant "Ram, Ram", and I have been doing this everyday for several years. I needn't say, I am here enslaved in this cage; whereas, ironically, my friends never say "Ram, Ram" and yet keep flying freely in the sky, enjoying total freedom. Now what would you say of that?" The Sadhu who had been listening patiently to the parrot said calmly, "My dear son! It is true that you keep reciting "Ram, Ram" regularly, but, in fact, you do not know the right way, the real art to do so. This is why, you have been held captive in this cage". The parrot began to find interest in the talks of the sage.
It requested, with the sparkle of hope in its eyes, the sage to teach him the right method. The recluse explained the method and asked it to practice secretly and not to reveal to the master until it had mastered the art. The parrot did like wise; he had been taught to practice "pranayam" (exercise of holding or controlling the breath). Slowly, he became adept enough to hold his breath for several minutes altogether. So, one day when he saw the master coming to him for regular feeding, he lay quietly in the cage holding his breath. When the master came to the cage and opened the door to feed it, he found the parrot lying totally still. He shook it, thinking it might have gone to sleep. But when the parrot showed no response, no signs of movement, the master took him out of the cage, assuming it to be dead, and threw it outside his house. "Zooooooooom!"… the parrot flew away high into the sky thanking the Sadhu for teaching the right way.]
Baba Gorakhnath ji Maharaj says, "O Imprisoned (in the body) Soul! Worship thou God practicing how to hold the breath. (Thus) you would be eventually freed of the fetters of the body. Otherwise (if you do not practice this worship or meditation) you would have to suffer extreme miseries by having to fall in to the trap of (different types of) body. To know the art (of how to be free of the bondage of body) seek the shelter of a true Guru. When such a guru would bestow his grace or favour, he would teach you the right way or skill by practicing which you would be able to attain absolute salvation. There are two ways of stopping or restraining breath. The methods prescribed in Hatha Yoga (the form of Yoga in which emphasis is laid on physical disciplines and exercises, including breath-control, to achieve withdrawal of mind from external objects) are difficult to practise and fraught with risks as the Shandilya Upanishad says:
"Yathaa simho gajo vyaaghro bhavedvashyah shanaih shanaih |
tathaiv sevito vaayuranyathaa hanti saadhakam ||"
— Shandilya Upanishad
[Just as lions, elephants and tigers are tamed, or brought within control, slowly and slowly, so has the breath to be controlled very carefully; otherwise, a deviation or error may even kill the practitioner.]
On the other hand, the breath-control that is accomplished by practising the drishti-yoga (meditation on the inner light), as taught by sants, is absolutely safe and does not involve any risk to life. Consider a few illustrative hymns from the Shandilya Upanishad:
"Dwaadashaangul paryante naasaagre vimalembare |
samviddrishi prashaamyantaam praanaspando nirudhyate ||"
— Shandilya Upanishad
[When the consciousness or attention becomes stilled at a distance equal to twelve times the width of a finger in front of the nose in the inner pure sky, the pulsation or beating of breath ceases.]
"Bhroomadhye taarakaalokashaantaavantamupaagate |
chetanaikatane baddhe praanaspando nirudhyate ||"
[The pulsation or beating of breath comes to a standstill when the attention gets focussed in the realm of star located in the centre of the eyebrows.]
"Chirakaalam hridekaant vyom samvedanaanmune |
avaasanamanodhyaanaatpraanaspando nirudhyate ||"
[By practising meditation for a long time in the inner sky with a mind detached completely from all sorts of uncertainties - resolutions or hesitations – and desires, pulsation or beating of breath stops.]
To know the finer details, or specialist knowledge of the way to meditation on the inner light one should seek refuge of a true Guru and serve him. Shrimad Bhagwad Gita says,
"Tadviddhi pranipaaten pariprashnen sevayaa |
updekshyanti te gyaanam gyaaninastattvadarshinah ||"
[Keep in mind that by respectfully paying obeisance, by serving and by enquiry, the wise person (he/she who knows) would impart you the knowledge.]
|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. ||3|||
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:
"Prayaankaale manasaachalen bhaktyaayukto yogabalen chaiv |
Bhruvormadhye praanam aaveshya 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.]
Such a yogi, even during his lifetime (while living in this very world), shuns all attachment to objects of senses, and keeps withdrawing the currents of consciousness inwardly, away from the banks of sense-organs. Thus, his mental propensities become concentrated, focussed, gathered. This gathering of consciousness has a natural tendency of leading to ascension. Such a man ascends himself from gross body into the astral body, and as the motivation level or the yearning to be one with God becomes more and more intense, he registers even greater progress in meditation and is able to ascend further – from astral to the causal body, from causal to the supra-causal body and even beyond. He no more requires any god or messenger of god to come to him and escort him, in a divine plane or carriage, to a wondrous world. In fact, he becomes greater (than such gods and goddesses) in his abilities and accomplishments. They (these gods & goddesses) are not able to even have a glimpse of his. Such a person (soul) can effortlessly travel at a pace much faster than their vehicles. In the end, at the culmination of his meditation, he merges into the Supreme Soul, the omnipresent god and, in the process, he himself becomes the God. For such a person, the following hymn of the Maitreyyupanishad is realised into practice:
"Gantavya deshaheenosmi gamanaadivivarajitah"
[There is no room or space for me to move; I don't have to move or walk.]
Such is the power of yoga. Abandoning of the body is called as death. The yogi, as described above, lives like a dead person in this world (as he keeps himself withdrawn from his body & its organs), and nobody is able to know where has he gone following the death (of his body). Those who are not like such a yogi have to take birth and die again & again. Therefore, one ought to be a yogi.
|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.) The 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 eyes (sight):
" VidvAn samagrIvashiro nasAgra drigbhrUmadhye |
Shashabhridvimbam pashyannetraabhyaamamritam pivet ||"
(From 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.]
|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)." ||5|||
|Practice mental recitation with such an intensity that the mantra of 'soham', 'soham' is pronounced or produced without your doing so orally. 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 dwaadashaangul or "twelve times a finger's breath"), then the divine Sound is perceived automatically, the Sun rises (is visualized) in the 'bank-naal' (the curved tube or the Sushumna) and the divine melody of innumerable varieties begins to throb 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 sahasradalkamal (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 each & 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 throbbing 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 'nadanusandhan', 'surat-shabda yoga', 'nirgun 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 meditation on the inner word or sound. Consider, for instance, the following hymns:
"Makarandam pivanbhringo gandhaannaapekshate yathaa |
Naadaasaktam sadaa chittam vishayam na hi kaankshati |
Baddhah sunaada gandhen sadyah santyakta chaapalaash ||"
[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 or fickle character.]
"Naada grahanatashchittamantaranga bhujangamah |
Vismritya vishwamekaagrah kutrachinna hi dhaavati ||"
[By perseverant practice of nadanusandhan, attention gets completely absorbed in the inner divine sound. It forgets the objects of senses and strays not from the divine sound.]
"Manomattagajendrasya vishayodyaanachaarinah |
Niyaaman samarthoayam ninaado nishitaankushah ||"
[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.]
"Naadontaranga saarang bandhane vaaguraayate |
Antarangasamudrasya rodhe velaayatepi vaa ||"
[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).]
"Naasti naadaatparo mantro na devah swaatmaanah parah |
Naanusandheh paraa poojaa 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 (the God), and no bliss greater than contentment.]
"Sarvachintaam parityajya saavadhaanen chetasaa |
Naad evaanusandheyo yogasaamraajyamichchhitaa ||"
[The seekers of the kingdom or the empire of yoga (or unison) should explore the nada precisely forsaking all other worries.]
"Beejaaksharam param vindum naadam tasyopari sthitam |
Sashabdam chaakshare ksheene nihshabdam paramam padam ||"
[The 'vindu' or the absolute point is the seed of all the alphabets. Nada is situated above (beyond) the vindu. 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 nishNaatah param brahmaadigachchhati ||"
[Two sciences or fields of knowledge are worth learning – one is the shabda-brahma and the other is the Supreme Brahma or the 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 saar hai, yah to jhoothee dehee ||
Yahee badaayee shabda kee, jaise chumbak bhaaya |
Binaa shabda nahi Ubarai, ketaa karai upaaya ||"
(— Sant Kabir Sahab)
[To subjugate the mind by exploring or practicing to perceive the shabda is, in fact, 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, in spite of all other efforts of various nature.]
" Saakati nari shabad surati kiu paaiai |
Shabad surati binu Aiai jaaiai ||"
" Dhuni anandu anaahadu baajai |
Guri shabadi niranjanu paaiyaa ||"
(— 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 the God who is beyond all sorts of illusion.]
|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|||
|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|||
|Lead a life of moderation irrespective of whatever you do – whether you are walking on road, stitching the rags, meditating, or preaching others. ||9|||
|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|||
|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||
|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|||