The second chapter of Bihar School of Yoga was announced during the Golden Jubilee of the institution in 2013. The hallmark of this second chapter is a new vision of yoga, not as a practice but as a vidya, a wisdom to be understood, imbibed and expressed in life. This understanding of the fundamental need for integral development was the vision which Swami Satyananda imparted through the concept of the yoga chakra, or the wheel of yoga.
The yoga chakra shows a defined sequence of progression, through the two sides of bahiranga yoga and antaranga yoga. In bahiranga yoga, the outer yoga, there is hatha yoga, raja yoga and kriya yoga. These allow one to attain sanyam. Sanyam means one becomes an observer and master of one’s actions, behaviours, thoughts and speech. Hatha yoga works on the level of annamaya and pranamaya kosha, the dimensions of matter and energy. Raja yoga works on the level of manomaya kosha, the dimension of the mind. Kriya yoga works with the dimension of consciousness, sensitizing one to experience consciousness and to realize the state of pure bliss in consciousness, which is the spirit. Kriya yoga takes one to the vijnanamaya and anandamaya kosha levels. These three yogas together create the environment of sanyam: total awareness, dominance, control, harmony, balance and equilibrium.
In hatha yoga one works with the body and the pranas. When one comes to raja yoga one begins to observe oneself, cultivating the aspect that allows one to become the drashta, the observer. This is the radical change that happens in raja yoga. From the normal style of living and attaining the health and wellbeing of the senses, body, body organs and pranas, one begins to develop an awareness of ‘I am’ and ‘I am in control of my own actions and behaviours, and I am directing them to become better and better.’
In kriya yoga the component of psychic awareness emerges, in which one enters into the psychic dimension, vijnanamaya kosha. Everything that is unknown and limitless within the self lies there. The experience and the purity of realization that is gained with the practice of kriya yoga allows one to move into anandamaya kosha. Accessing this dimension is also challenging and confronting. For this reason, kriya yoga has been a secret tradition; it will remain a yoga for select spiritual seekers who have cultivated the drashta state, becoming the observer of their own mind, and are willing to take a jump into the spiritual unknown.
For other seekers, up to raja yoga is enough. Yoga gives them tools to deal with their mind, de-stress themselves and live in the best manner possible. Thus these three yogas, which are part of this outer discipline leading to attainment of sanyam, are one component.
EXPRESSING THE ATTAINMENT THROUGH ANTARANGA YOGA
Expressing the attainment of the practices in your thought, behaviour and action is known as antaranga yoga, or the inner, expressive yoga. This is the second component that completes the system of yoga. It is constituted of three yogas – karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga – that deal with personality traits that are subtle and invisible.
The purpose of inner yoga is to manage traits that are inherent in one’s personality and nature. In the yogic tradition those personality traits are known as the six associates. They give rise to one’s nature, mindset, personality, habits, traits, and character and they make one what one is right now.
Who are these six associates? Kama, desire and passion; krodha, the aggressive drive; lobha, greed and neediness; moha, delusion, infatuation; mada, arrogance, self-assertive identity; and matsarya, envy and jealousy towards people who are more successful or better off. These are the traits of human nature that are inherent in the mind itself at the time of birth. They are related to karma, action, jnana, knowing, and bhavana, feeling. It is in performing karma that one realizes how much aggression, greed, drive, need, jealousy and envy one has. Similarly, the intellect, thinking and emotions highlight and express these inner traits that make up one’s life, nature, personality, aspirations and ambitions.
It is through inner yoga, through karma yoga, bhakti yoga and jnana yoga, that one manages the effects of these six traits.