Thinning the veils: These three sutras (4.1-4.3) explain methods of opening the barrier or veil between our typical waking state of consciousness and layers that are underneath, higher, or beyond (4.1).
Barriers were built by a filling in process: These barriers are constructed somewhat like a blue print of a house gradually gets filled in from the ground, to the foundation, to the walls, and then to the roof, so that stage after stage, layer after layer, our final construction as a completed human being takes place (4.2).
Reversing the process by removing the veil: By following that process of veiling and projecting in reverse order, going inward instead of outward, Self-realization comes. It does not mean disassembling the house, but tracing our awareness back through the stages of construction.
Opening the gate of the Self: Experiencing the eternal Truth or Self is a process of allowing the natural consciousness to flow forward, much like a farmer opening a sluice gate to irrigate a field (4.3), rather than a process of further construction of new information and identities. In other words, we cannot build or construct Self-realization; we can only allow it to naturally flow forward when the barriers are removed.
Meaning of Kaivalya: The fourth chapter of the Yoga Sutras is entitled "Kaivalya Pada." The word "Kaivalya" literally translates as "isolation." It is usually taken to mean liberation or enlightenment. However, the way in which "isolation" is a quite effective term is that pure consciousness or purusha is now standing alone, separate from all of the manifestations of prakriti, including literally all of the manifestations or swirlings of all levels of the mind field. In Sutra 1.16 supreme non-attachment is mentioned as a stage beyond the many other levels of attachment. Sutra 4.32 explains how the primary elements called gunas have finished their purpose and recede in perfect equilibrium into that from which they arose. These are aspects or byproducts of the process of the isolation (kaivalya) of pure consciousness (purusha).
Five ways to thin the veil: Five methods are mentioned by which that barrier or veil of ignorance (2.3) is thinned, or eventually removed entirely, allowing Self-realization (1.3) and liberation (4.26). Here's the five ways of thinning the veil:
Siddhis are exposed: Siddhis (attainments, powers, perfections, subtle experiences, psychic abilities) are exposed from the subtle level by the thinning of the veils between the conscious and the unconscious. However, for the absolute reality to be realized, there also has to be non-attachment (1.15), and setting aside of experiences (3.38), so as to move ever closer to the direct experience of the center (1.3). Otherwise, removing the veil in one of these five ways can serve only to achieve subtle experiences and powers.
Filling in is like the blueprint of a building: This process of filing in is somewhat like having a blueprint of a building. First you design the building on paper, then you go to the land to stake off the outline, start digging, and begin construction. Step after step you fill in so as to complete the finished building as was started with the blueprint. Similarly, we start with a blueprint in the causal level of our being, from which we then "fill in" with the subtlest material (prakriti) so as to become a complete, whole person.
Trace your way backwards for enlightenment: The significance of this filling in process is in understanding that enlightenment comes by awareness tracing its way back, in reverse order. While this current sutra is describing the filling in process as the way in which manifestation occurs, it is the next sutra (4.3) that describes how to reverse this filling in process, so as to realize the truth that has been there all along. Recall that the first few sutras of the Yoga Sutras explains the process of gaining mastery over the modifications of the mind field, and that then, the true Self comes shining through (1.1-1.2).
Filling in comes with birth: The same process of filling in comes when one incarnates into a body.
We are taught that only action brings learning: In daily life it seems that most events happen because of some other action first occurring. We are trained from birth that we must do something to cause some other thing to happen. There is cause and effect; if we want an effect, we have to perform some causative action. If we want to build a house, we have to bring together the bricks and boards and make it all come together. This is the way we are taught in our families and schools, and our society in general, whether building a house, a relationship, a family, or a spiritual life. We are taught that we must learn more, so that we can build more. While this is definitely true in the outer world, the opposite is true for the pursuit of enlightenment.
Learning how to unlearn: When we apply this process of learning to our spiritual evolution, we can easily, and mistakenly think that the process is the same. We can unintentionally become mere actors on a stage, only pretending to be loving and kind towards others. We develop a spiritual persona, as if this mask is the meaning of enlightenment. What is more true, is that our innate nature is already pure, perfect, or divine, etc. If that is so, then why do we not experience that, and have that true Self directly emerge outward from the core of our being? The reason is because of those obstacles or barriers that are blocking the inner light. What we need to learn is how to remove those obstacles, so that the pre-existing reality within can shine forth. It is not a process of learning, so as to build more, but a process of learning how to unlearn, and experience what is already there.
Opening the sluice gate: This is where the story of the farmer comes in. A farmer's field will have many many rows of plants, all of which need water. The farmer does not just carry bucket after bucket of water to the plants, nor does he walk around with a long hose for watering. Rather, he designs the rows of the field so that there is a little door, or a pile of dirt at the beginning of each row; these are called sluice gates. Imagine a small stream that pass by the area. When he wants water to go down a certain row, he simple opens the door, or moves the little pile of dirt away with his hand. Then the water naturally starts to flow down that row. The plants are thus nourished.
Meditation is like opening the sluice gates: In meditation, we are not trying to attain anything, but are trying to open the sluice gates. We cannot really attain anything in meditation, but can only realize what is already there. This is why the phrase Self-realization is used for enlightenment. We definitely have to learn the methods and apply them, but it is imperative that we remember we are trying to open, encounter, and set aside, so that our true Self can come shining through, just like the farmer watering the field by opening the sluice gate.
------- This site is devoted to
presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of
the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and
beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth. The goal of
our sadhana or practices is the highest
Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the
center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is
one and the same with the Absolute Reality.
This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga
Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the
intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which
complement one another like fingers on a hand.
We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti
Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha,
and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer
finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final
stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the
This site is devoted to presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth. The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which complement one another like fingers on a hand. We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha, and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the Absolute.