Rohit Arya on Samyama awakening, Ramana and Rathas

When I began Yoga I was all afire. Enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations competed with each other inside me. As experience was painfully accumulated, a sense of reality dawned. This was a long haul, and intellectual integrity was the most valuable climbing tool you had. It is one of the paradoxes of Yoga, part of its innately quirky humour, that it rewards its practitioners with no regard for effort or even simple natural justice. The more you strive, the more you stagnate. Newcomers zoom past bewildered, sometimes bitter, veterans. I do not know how it is with others but for me the point of breakthrough has almost inevitably been when I say – “I do not care anymore if the process is working, I will just do it and sit in meditation.” Of course at that point, which is usually a most inconvenient one in the matter of your outward daily life, breakthroughs start tumbling into your lap at an embarrassing rate!  Quite recently the power of Samyama activated within me. It has not stabilized completely, nor is it a continuous enduring process as it seems to be with the Masters, but in my own  Rohit style I have gained access to a remarkable aspect of consciousness.
Samyama is a facet of consciousness which the Zen masters of Japan know as “Focussed Attention”. Simply put, if you put your attention, your regard, your full focus, the entire power of mind and body upon a subject or thing, the knowledge about that is vouchsafed to you. {Scientists with their unflagging research practice Samyama unknowingly.} It explains how Masters are able to answer questions about subjects they know nothing about. It is not Omniscience, though very understandably it is confused with it.    When overly excitable disciples see their Master answer queries about things he could never have a clue about, the tendency to assign infallible knowledge to him {and by association themselves} is a pleasing conceit to the megalomania that lurks in all. It is just Samyama. The limitations of the process are many. If you do not care about the situation or thing under consideration, it works imperfectly or fails completely. So emotional strength plays a part, and in any case it is clearly understood that it is not a phenomenon of the mind, but of the entire body, the inner energy sheaths, though the mind reports the conclusions reached. I do not wish to give too many details and incite people into premature mental and physical strains. To be honest I never thought it was possible for me until quite recently when it began to leak into my consciousness so as to speak.
One of the pre-requisites it seems is stillness of mind. I am not at the level of no-thoughts at all. {Now in 2014 I am pleased to announce such is no longer the case!}Yet the mind has stilled, the constant racing of thoughts is an infrequent occurrence.  The cessation of internal chatter is bewildering at times so habituated was the organism to that. This has led to physical stillness increasing dramatically too. What was a jittery, shifting, restless annamaya kosha, the food sheath or body, has now become something that can sit three to four hours in stillness. Even in my daily interactions I get feedback that I sit quite disconcertingly still and the manner in which I pay attention to the person in front – or don’t, that still swings wildly, – is quite remarkable. These are external clues, which is why I lay stress upon them. But they seem to add up to some shift in the personal energy field which has made the activation of Samyama possible. It is not understanding or comprehension or even knowing though it encompasses all of these. It is pure Awareness, not quite rational, transcending it, infusing you with a certitude that you do not at all feel inclined to question though you get adequate confirmation later if you wish. It is Samyama.
Suddenly things became clear at a deeper level, insights surfaced that nothing in my knowledge or experience could explain. I knew, and knew it was right. It is not quite intuition, it is like asking for knowledge and suddenly it is at hand. Samyama is not just an internal process; what you need to know suddenly comes across your vision from multiple sources, you hear it, you deduce it from seemingly completed unrelated input. It is some sort of a-causal synchronicity at work.  Its parameters in my case were very clear; if I was not keenly interested in the subject it would not work. The point is I did not pursue this aspect of yoga, seek it or attempt to develop it once it activated. It was there, sometimes clear, sometimes murky, though nowadays I can consciously increase the likelihood of it. All of this seems remarkable but very soon I was aware of its mortifying drawbacks. Or perhaps that is a deduction from my still limited stage of evolution.
You begin to see things at a deeper level, true, but there is a karmic responsibility contingent with such insight. That might not be what you wish or are comfortable with. Where ignorance is bliss etc etc… I was listening very intensely on the phone to somebody I was in relationship with and loved madly. She was describing a meeting with an old friend after many years and suddenly I comprehended that she had cheated on me with him. Our next meeting, indeed our relationship, did not go well as you may imagine. When this activates within you, the end point of what people wish to communicate is clear except they take an inordinately long time to get there. I tended to jump to the conclusion and answer it which was regarded as both rude and vaguely frightening. I am learning to keep quiet now, but then the stillness takes over and I zone out the drone! Again sorry, I don’t mean to be intentionally rude.
This month I had the good fortune to finally see the great shore temples at Mamallpuram or Mahabalipuram near Chennai city. I also went with friends to the sacred hill of Arunachalam which is a Fire Tattva Lingam, and where Ramana Maharshi spent his entire life. The power of these sacred places seems to have sent my Samyama up a notch. At Mahabalipuram, for instance there is a beach with the so called five chariots or Pancha rathas, five stone structures over a thousand years old, nominally temples. Yet at first glance I saw the inner yogic story there. These five structures are visually separate, but they are not constructed, they are sculpted!! A huge boulder was somehow dragged to that beach and then hollowed out, after which the ‘temple’ was sculpted from the top down of the five freestanding blocks plus some spare rock left for a Nandi or vahana of Shiva. Only two of them are complete, the others are in various stages of possibility. But the real story was something beyond the standard gorgeousness of mythological carvings.
I have no evidence for what I am saying now. It is my understanding. I do not seek to persuade anybody. The whole complex seems to have been created by a very ambitious yogi who was seeking a concentrated energy field to do Tattva shuddhi or Great element internal purifications. Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Akasha or spirit are clearly represented there for those with the vision or the discrimination. Rock is a standard choice for temples as it can be infused with heightened energy and also retains the energy of yogic and other process that are conducted within it. The rock also serves to insulate the yogi from the scorching sand. Putting the temple on the blazing sands by the beach ensures the meditations could only be done post evening and for a couple of hours after sunrise. This is pure Tantra. I saw a whole lot more but it is not appropriate to reveal such stuff. If people are advanced enough they can see what is there to be seen. The complex is not fully energized, either because the money ran out which is plausible, or because the yogi who persuaded the royal patrons to spend so much money dropped his body before it was completed which is what I suspect happened. In fact I am sure of it, but evidence is impossible to come by.
At Arunachalam the sheer magnitude of what I was going to experience was never clear to me. After we did the ashram visits and hill clambering we went to the main temple in the town of Tiruvanmalai. Flames were flowing into me from my bare feet in the temple courtyard and no, it was not the heat, it had rained and we were mostly in shade. Just tremendous influx of energy because I had been cracked open by the visit to Sri Aurobindo’s samadhi  two days back and the Hill of Arunachalam itself. I tried to sit down inside the temple; the gushing intensity of flame was so strong the muladhara chakra could not endure it and I jumped up and stood within five seconds. But when I first saw Arunachalam, the thought arose, “This thing is alive, by God.” Later on I realized it was a mountain of quartz and as we were clambering up it to go to the caves were Ramana spent so many years in fearsome sadhana, Samyama activated again.
The hill of Arunachalm is a Being of colossal magnitude, a Master who has now attained divine status. It is regarded as a Fire lingam, the veritable essence of the Maha Tattva of Agni or fire element. All I know is that it is staggeringly old and has been enlightened for aeons. The Hill awakened and then slowly, agonizingly, evolved to Enlightenment and then began to radiate its power. A properly activated Shiva lingam is an energy being with all the chakras and powers, and none of the human limitations, of a Master. But Arunachalam is another scale altogether, only Kailasha is more powerful on this planet, but then it is doubtful if Kailasha is even from this plane of existence.  Words fail when confronted with such ancient power. I felt completely insignificant and was so conscious of my failings I did not even feel like steeping on the Hill, it seemed a very brazen, rude thing to do. That too is puffery; Arunachalam cannot be insulted by such as me so I went.  The previous evening my friends and I had gone on the Girivallam, the sacred circling of the mountain, a 15km trek by foot and the way the energy radiated off that incomprehensible thing will never be forgotten.
When we reached the Skandashrama I almost burst out laughing. For the entire spot for mediation was in front of a natural rock formation that was a  gigantic Ardhanarishvara yantra. Ramana spent years and years there mainlining the immense possibility of that rock. These are the oldest rocks in the world, some of them up to 400 million years old, and that yantra is also unbearably old. It is a calm yantra however, unlike the Devi rock yantra at the Hanamkonda Bhadrakali temple in Warrangal, which is much huger and far wilder. I sat outside the Skandashram, allowing the yantra I had recognized in Samyama do its work.  At the famous Virupaksha cave I began to ‘see’ again. Yogis require to be surrounded by Earth energy for some specific purposes. Rock caves provide the driest, coolest options, unlike earth pits which get moist as well as hot and then the water ruins the vibration of earth that is required. But Ramana was doing something else, something more ambitious, for there was a river flowing right behind, indeed touching the cave, and of course overhanging the cave, was a massive jut of rock which was a shaped like a fire triangle. Earth, water, fire corresponding to muladhara, svadhisthana and manipura chakras. Whatever he was doing it took him, even somebody so great as Ramana, seven years to accomplish. I mediated in the cave and slipped away so fast I had to come out instantly. My friends had only begun to mediate and would not have known what to do if I went into Samadhi as is my wont recently. For what this trip gave me, for what it taught me about Samyama, I remain grateful and joyful.
Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}  published in the last quarter of 2011. He has also written A Gathering of Gods due at the same time. He is the Editor of The Leadership Review, a corporate trainer, as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga
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