Enlightenment/Samadhi is a milestone.
Your Sadhana/practice is the way.
Siddhis/”powers” are a consequence.
Liberation/Kaivalya is the aim.
This freedom from the perpetual cycle of suffering caused by Karma due to ignorant over-identification with form, maintaining a false sense of self (ego–illusory social construction of identity) that binds you to lower expressions/experiences with unconscious others in the world, is the outcome.
When you attain Kaivalya/liberation/independence by letting go of everything that you are not (which is every “role” that you play in society, costume/false face that you put on and present to others–painted or otherwise–every belief/ideology that you cling to, every desire, fear, hatred, misconception, imagined projection from/within Maya, and any other “thing” that limits you and keeps you bound to form, etc…letting go of everything that is fleeting that you falsely believe defined or expressed “you”), “pure consciousness settles into its own nature” (Sutra 4.34), and you are free to be your True and full Self (unchanging, untainted, uncorrupted/undistorted) in the world (and connected to, and expressed as an aspect of, the Source/Absolute one and all that is…without ego delusion).
When you get to this state, you are free from ignorance and illusory human social-animal entrapments that perpetuate suffering tied to impermanent form in relationship to life, your personal body-mind, your socially constructed ego persona, and “others.”
Why It Is Important To Point This Out
People seem to be confused about what Yoga is and what the aim of Yoga is, even when the entire last chapter of the Yoga Sutras, and many points along the way, clearly states that the point of Yoga is Kaivalya.
In fact, in all of my studies of Indian Philosophy itself, from many different “schools of thought,” I have only observed/encountered one Swami who has ever been clear enough/understood enough about Yoga and what it is/does when correctly applied, who also understands this point. Most “scholars” and teachers (often of “opposing” “schools of spirituality”), instead of honestly being able to understand Yogic Sciences, or even the Yoga Sutras, incorrectly and loudly (often going out of their way to twist things to fit their doctrine) profess that Yoga is, or the point of Yoga is, Samadhi. This is just as absurd as declaring that Yoga is Asana, which we clearly see it marketed as in most conventional practice.
The fact of the matter is that most people misinterpret what Yoga is, even though Patanjali clearly states that the point of Yoga is not special powers, nor even a clear mind in and of itself. Even though Patanjali clearly states that the putting aside/restraint of the mind, after getting yourself regulated enough to purely tap into/reflect the Truth (without distortion), is a means to an end, people miss everything that is there to see and declare that the last active step on the Yogic path is the end. It is like getting clear directions to a house, and, instead, turning onto the last street, let’s call it Main Street, and declaring that you have arrived, or that the directions are wrong, when the directions clearly state to drive pass Main Street until you come to your final destination.
Right after saying that we are going to be studying Yoga, Patanjali blatantly states “Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha” (Yoga is restraint/putting aside the modifications of the mind-stuff…he did not say the ones that disturb you, or the ones you don’t like, he said the whole thing…even good feelings, Sattva (the Gunas), and even right knowledge itself…everything so that you can just purely be your Self). Patanjali tells you that there is a stable mental state available that you will work toward to develop yourself from being a dysregulated body-mind-ego identified being in order to get ready for Kaivalya. He clearly states that you will be putting even this state, including the powers and great worldly accomplishments that come from it, aside to be Liberated.
Chapter one of the Yoga Sutras helps to identify the issue of false self-identification (with the body-mind-ego) and the disturbances that come from it, all of which can be eased by getting your body-mind under control (and he even starts to explain how to do this). Chapter two goes into greater detail discussing the methodology for getting your body-mind-ego, and life, under control so that you can advance in your practice. Chapter three explains the consequences/natural outcomes of getting your mind under control and focused enough to manifest mental and other gifts, before explicitly stating that this is not the point.
Chapter four of the Yoga Sutras goes into elaborate detail about what Union means, developing on how Samadhi prepares you for this, and going over the different levels of concentration/understanding that you have to refine to get to the goal, which is Kaivalya. He even states, along the way, that simple surrender to the Truth can get you there without any practice if you can actually do it.
For ideological reasons, I suppose, but it could also be ignorance, imagination, attachment, and a variety of other vrittis and kleshas, depending on the person who holds the view, many schools of thought (especially Indian thought, probably coming from ancient debates that people are still carrying out for some reason) feel the need to bash Yoga in the public eye (to students who are easily convinced of things–ie. manipulatable because they are not on the level that enables them to read many spiritual texts critically on their own with much clarity, and, therefore, seek the help of “Gurus” who they financially support instead).
There are “spiritual teachers” and leaders, due to some strange agendas (sometimes purely motivated by desire for money or attention–since if they can sell “their way” then they profit over others) who do not actually help their students come to any clarity (and definitely do not support their student’s Liberation from ignorance). These individuals engage in strawmen and other false arguments to manipulate, as opposed to educate/enlighten/purify, their students’ minds because in spreading lies or directly attacking other’s views (that they were not diligent enough to themselves truly understand), they directly benefit from the buildup of delusional opposition to practices that can actually help their students progress based on where they are in their spiritual development simply because it is not what they teach…and maybe…just maybe…it is more profitable for some of these individual for their students not to progress, since that way they keep coming back (but you will have to do the inquiry into this to determine where/whether this is applicable or not)…Many, instead of mastering and teaching their method for spiritual development well enough to create tangible results, ask their students to engage in useless games of “pick a team”…as if spiritual Liberation is some worldly game…enflaming egos instead of transcending them.
I invite you, however, to not waste your time on this type of cringeworthy drama and idiocy. This is not only silly, it is harmful. I encourage you, instead, to seek Truth above all else, to study and learn from different sources, to read things for yourself with clear focus and attention/no bias, imagination, etc., with the intention to clearly understand, and please remember that your practice is Self-Inquiry, not pure belief of anything. Be able to distinguish poetic vs descriptive language, and lies from actual truth, and honestly endeavor to get the point of what you are reading everything very clearly instead of mucking around in the confusion (or agendas) of others (many of whom will exploit your confusion, among other things, if you let them), which will only stall/divert your progress from the real goal that has been clearly outlined…and you will have no one to blame but yourself.
The goal of Yoga is Liberation, as is the goal of all True spiritual schools when their methodologies are correctly understood and applied. Yoga simply just happens to have some pretty awesome milestones/areas of mastery that are reached along the way, but your goal in Yoga does not end at milestones. Just remember to always keep practicing, aligning, and moving forward to the Real goal.
Thank you for reading.
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