Excerpt from Yoga:
The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 8, ch 1
This rather long excerpt has been reproduced in its entirety because it was difficult to decide
where to cut . . . the necessary context for the small part that Anando
referred to (in two places, here and here) seemed to be the whole thing. So be it. For those who just
want to read that small part, it is about 3/4 of the way down, enclosed
in a box.
The first sutra:
BY PERFORMING SAMYAMA ON THE TWO TYPES OF KARMA, ACTIVE AND DORMANT, OR
UPON OMENS AND PORTENTS, THE EXACT TIME OF DEATH CAN BE PREDICTED.
Many things. First, why be worried about the exact time of death? How
is it going to help? What is the point of it? If you ask Western
psychologists, they will almost call it abnormal morbidity. Why be
concerned with death? Avoid. Go on believing that death is not going to
happen -- at least not to you. It always happens to somebody else. You
have seen people die, you have never seen yourself die, so why be
afraid? You may be the exception. But nobody is an exception; and death
has already happened in your birth, so you cannot avoid it.
Now the birth is beyond your power. You cannot do anything about it; it
has already happened. It is already past; it is already done. You
cannot undo it. Death is yet to happen: something is possible to be
done about it.
The whole of Eastern religion depends on the vision of death, because
that is the possibility which is going to happen. If you know it
beforehand, tremendous is the possibility. Many doors open. Then you
can die in your own way, then you can die with a signature of your own
on your death. Then you can manage not to be born again -- that is the
whole meaning. It is not morbid. It is very, very scientific. When
everybody is going to die, this is absolutely foolish not to think
about death, not to meditate upon death, not to focus upon it, not to
come to a deep understanding about it.
It is going to happen. If you know, much is possible.
Patanjali says even the exact date, the hour, the minute, the second of
death can be known beforehand. If you know exactly when death is
coming, you can prepare. Death has to be received like a great guest.
It is not the enemy. In fact it is a god given gift. It is a great
opportunity to pass through. It can become a breakthrough: if you can
die alert, conscious, aware, you will never be born again -- and there
will be no death anymore. If you miss, you will be born again. If you
go on missing, you will be continuously born again and again, unless
you learn the lesson of death.
Let me say it in this way: the whole of life is nothing but a learning
about death, a preparation for death. That's why death comes in the
end. It is the pinnacle, the crescendo, the very climax, the peak.
In the West particularly, contemporary psychologists have become aware
that in a deep sex act a certain peak can be attained, a climax, a
great orgasm, which is tremendously fulfilling, exhilarating, ecstatic.
You are cleansed; you come out of it rejuvenated, fresh, again young,
again alive -- all the dust gone, as if you have taken a great shower,
an energy shower. But they have not yet come to know that the sex act
is a very minor death; and one who can achieve deep orgasm is one who
allows himself to die in love. It is a minor death, nothing to be
compared with death. Death is the greatest orgasm there is.
The intensity of death is such that almost always people become
unconscious. They cannot face it. The moment death comes, you are so
afraid, so full of anxiety, to avoid you become unconscious. Almost
ninety-nine percent of people die unconsciously. They miss the
To know death beforehand is just a method to help you prepare so when
death comes you are perfectly alert and aware, waiting, ready to go
with death, ready to surrender, ready to embrace death. Once you have
accepted death in awareness, there is no longer any birth for you --
you have learned the lesson. Now there is no coming back to the school
again. This life is just a school, a discipline -- a discipline to
learn death. It is not morbid.
The whole of religion is concerned with death, and if some religion is
not concerned with death, then it is not religion at all. It may be a
sociology, an ethics, a morality, a politics, but it cannot be
religion. Religion is the search of the deathless; but that deathless
is possible only through the door of death.
The first sutra says, "By performing samyama on the two types of karma,
active and dormant, or upon omens and portents, the exact time of death
can be predicted." The Eastern analysis of karma says that there are
three types of karma. Let us understand them.
First is called sanchita. Sanchita means the total, the total of all
your past lives. Whatsoever you have done, howsoever you have reacted
to situations, whatsoever you have thought and desired, achieved,
missed -- the total -- the total of your doings, thinkings, feelings of
all the lives is called sanchita. Sanchita: the word means the all, the
The second type of karma is known as prarabdha. The second type of
karma is that part of sanchita which you have to fulfill in this life,
which has to be worked out in this life. You have lived many lives; you
have accumulated much. Now a part of it will have the opportunity to be
acted out, realized, suffered, passed through in this life. Only a part
of it, because this life has a limitation -- seventy, eighty, or a
hundred years. In a hundred years you cannot live all the past karmas
-- the sanchita, the accumulated -- only a part of it. That part is
Then there is a third type of karma which is known as kriyaman. That is
day-to-day karma. First the accumulated whole, then a small portion of
it for this life, then even a smaller portion of it for today or for
this moment. Each moment there is an opportunity to do something or not
to do something. Somebody insults you: you become angry. You react, you
do something; or, if you are aware, you simply watch, you don't become
angry. You simply remain a witness. You don't do anything; you don't
react. You remain cool and collected; you remain centered. The other
has not been able to disturb you.
If you are disturbed by the other and you react, then the kriyaman
karma falls into the deep reservoir of the sanchita. Then you are
accumulating again; then for future lives you are accumulating. If you
don't react, then a past karma is fulfilled -- you must have insulted
this man in some past life, now he has insulted you; the account is
closed. Finished. A man who is aware will feel happy that at least this
part is finished. He has become a little more free.
Somebody came and insulted Buddha. Buddha remained quiet, he listened
attentively, and then he said, "Thank you." The man was very much
puzzled; he said, "Have you gone mad? I am insulting you, hurting you,
and you simply say thank you?" Buddha said, "Yes, because I was waiting
for you. I had insulted you in the past, and I was waiting -- unless
you come I will not be totally free. Now you are the last man; my
accounts are closed. Thank you for coming. You might have waited, you
might not have come in this life, then I would have had to wait for
you. And I don't say anything anymore, because enough is enough. I
don't want to create another chain."
Then the kriyaman karma, the day-to-day karma, does not fall into the
reservoir, does not add to it; in fact, the reservoir is a little less
than it was. The same is true about prarabdha -- the whole life, this
life. If in this life you go on reacting, you are creating the
reservoir more and more. You will have to come again and again. You are
creating too many chains; you will be in bondage.
Try to understand the Eastern concept of freedom. In the West freedom
has a connotation of political freedom. In India we don't bother much
about political freedom, because we say unless one is spiritually free,
it makes not much difference whether you are politically free or not.
The fundamental thing is to be spiritually free.
The bondage is created by the karmas. Whatsoever you do in unawareness
becomes a karma. Any action done in unawareness becomes a karma because
any action done in unawareness is not action at all; it is a reaction.
When you do something in full awareness it is not a reaction; it is an
action, spontaneous, total. It leaves no trace. It is complete in
itself; it is not incomplete. If it is incomplete then some day or
other it will have to be completed. So if in this life you remain
alert, then the prarabdha disappears and your reservoir becomes more
and more empty. In a few lives the reservoir becomes absolutely empty.
This sutra says, "By performing samyama on the two types of karma...."
Patanjali means sanchita and prarabdha because the kriyaman is nothing
but a part of prarabdha, so he divides in two.
What is samyama? That has to be understood. Samyama is the greatest
synthesis of human consciousness, the synthesis of three: dharana,
Ordinarily, your mind is continuously jumping from one object to
another. Not for a single moment are you in tune with one object. You
go on jumping. Your mind goes on constantly moving; it is like a flux.
This moment something is in the focus of the mind, next moment
something else, next moment still something else. This is the ordinary
state of mind.
The first step out of it is dharana. Dharana means concentration --
fixing your whole consciousness on one object, not allowing the object
to disappear, bringing again and again your consciousness on the object
so that the unconscious habit of the mind of continuous flux can be
dropped; because once the habit of continuous change can be dropped,
you attain to an integrity, to a crystallization. When there are so
many objects moving continuously, you remain so many. Understand it.
You remain divided because your objects are divided.
For example, you love one woman today, another woman tomorrow, another
woman the third day. That will create a division in you. You cannot be
one; you will become many. You will become a crowd. Hence the Eastern
insistence to create a love in which you can remain for a longer
period, as long as possible. There have been experiments in the East in
which a couple has remained a couple for many lives together. Again and
again the same woman, the same man: that gives an integrity. Too much
change erodes your being, splits you. So if in the West the
schizophrenia is becoming almost a normal thing, it is not something to
be wondered at. It is not strange; it is natural. Everything is
I have heard that one film actress in Hollywood got married to her
eleventh husband. She came home, introduced the new dad to the
children. The children brought a register, and they said to the dad,
"Please sign it, because today you are here, tomorrow you may be gone;
and we are accumulating the signatures, autographs, of all our dads."
You go on changing houses; you go on changing everything. In America
the average limit of a person's job is three years. The job is also
continuously changing. The house -- the average limit of a person
staying in one town is also three years. And the average limit of
marriage is also three years. Somehow three years seems to be very
important. It seems if you remain the fourth year with the same woman
there is fear that you may get settled. If you remain in the same job
more than three years there is fear that you may get settled. So people
go on; they have become almost vagabonds. That creates divisions inside
In the East we tried to give a job to a person as part of his life. A
man was born in a Brahmin house: he remained a Brahmin. That was a
great experiment to give stability. A man was born in a shoemaker's
house: he remained a shoemaker. The marriage, the family, the job, the
town -- people were born in the same town and they would die in the
same town. Lao Tzu remembers, "I have heard that in the ancient days
people had not gone beyond the river." They had heard dogs barking on
the other side, the other shore. They had inferred that there must be a
town because in the evening they had seen smoke rising -- people must
be cooking. They had heard dogs barking, but they had not bothered to
go and see. People were so harmoniously settled.
This constant change simply says that your mind is feverish. You cannot
stay longer at anything; then your whole life becomes a life of
continuous change -- as if a tree is being uprooted again and again and
again and never gets the right time to send its roots deep down into
the earth. The tree will be alive only for the name's sake. It will not
be able to bloom, not possible, because before flowers come, the roots
have to settle.
So, concentration means bringing your consciousness to one object and
becoming capable of retaining it there -- any object. If you are
looking at a rose flower, you continuously look at it. Again and again
the mind wanders, goes here and there; you bring it back. You tame the
mind -- you tame the bull. You bring it back to the rose. The mind goes
again; you bring it back. By and by, the mind starts being with the
rose for longer periods. Once your mind remains with the rose for a
long period, you will be able for the first time to know what a rose
is. It is not just a rose: God has flowered in it. The fragrance is not
only of the rose; the fragrance is divine. But you never were en
rapport with it for long.
Sit with a tree and be with it. Sit with your boyfriend or girlfriend
and be with him or her, and bring yourself again and again. Otherwise,
what is happening? Even if you are making love to a woman, you are
thinking of something else -- maybe moving in a totally different
world. Even in love you are not focused. You miss much. A door opens,
but you are not there to see it. You come back when the door is closed
Each moment there are millions of opportunities to see God, but you are
not there. He comes and knocks at your doors, but you are not there.
You are never found there. You go on roaming around the world. This
roaming has to be stopped; that's what is the meaning of dharana.
Dharana is the first step of the great synthesis of samyama.
The second step is dhyan. In dharana, in concentration, you bring your
mind to a focus: the object is important. You have to bring again and
again the object in your consciousness; you are not to lose track of
it. The object is important in dharana. The second step is dhyan,
meditation. In meditation the object is not important anymore; it
becomes secondary. Now, the flow of consciousness becomes important --
the very consciousness which is being poured on the object. Any object
will do, but your consciousness should be poured in a continuity; there
should not be gaps.
Have you watched? If you pour water from one pot to another, there are
gaps. If you pour oil from one pot to another, there are not gaps. Oil
has a continuity; water falls discontinuously. Dhyan means, meditation
means, your consciousness should be falling on any object of
concentration in a continuity. Otherwise it is flickering. It is
constantly flickering; it is not a continuous torch. Sometimes it is
there, then disappears; then again is there, then disappears; then
again is there. In dhyan you have to make it a continuity, an absolute
When consciousness becomes continuous, you become tremendously strong.
For the first time you feel what life is. For the first time, holes in
your life disappear. For the first time you are together. Your
togetherness means the togetherness of consciousness. If your
consciousness is like drops of water and not a continuity, you cannot
be really there. Those gaps will be a disturbance. Your life will be
very dim and faint; it will not have strength, force, energy. When
consciousness flows in a continuous, riverlike phenomenon, you have
become a waterfall of energy.
This is the second step of samyama, the second ingredient; and then is
the third ingredient, the ultimate, that is samadhi. In dharana,
concentration, the object is important because you have to choose one
object amidst millions. In dhyan, meditation, consciousness is
important; you have to make consciousness a continuous flow. In samadhi
the subject is important: the subject has to be dropped.
You dropped many objects. When there were many objects, you were many
subjects, a crowd, a polypsychic existence -- not one mind, many minds.
People come to me and they say, "I would like to take sannyas, but...."
That "but" brings the second mind. They think they are the same, but
the "but" brings another mind. They are not one. They would like to do
something and, at the same time, they would not like to do it -- two
minds. If you watch you will find many minds in you -- almost a
When there are too many objects, there are too many minds corresponding
to them. When there is one object, one mind arises -- focused,
centered, rooted, grounded. Now this one mind has to be dropped;
otherwise you will remain in the ego. The many has been dropped; now
drop the one also. In samadhi this one mind has to be dropped. When one
mind drops, the one object also disappears because it cannot be there.
They always are together.
In samadhi only consciousness remains, as pure space.
These three together are called samyama. Samyama is the greatest
synthesis of human consciousness.
Now you will be able to understand the sutra: "By performing samyama on
the two types of karma, active and dormant, or upon omens and portents,
the exact time of death can be predicted." Now if you concentrate,
meditate, and get in tune in samadhi, you can be capable of knowing the
exact time of death. If you move your samyama, this great synthesis of
consciousness, this great power that has arisen in you; if you move it
towards death, you will be able to know immediately when you are going
How it happens? When you go in a dark room, you cannot see what is
there. When you go with a light, you can see what is there, or what is
not there. You move almost in darkness your whole life, so you don't
know how much prarabdha is still there -- prarabdha, the karma that you
have to fulfill in this life. When you go with samyama, with light
burning bright, you bring the flame in; you know how much prarabdha is
left. You see the whole house is empty, just in the corner a few things
are left, soon they will disappear. Now you can see when you are going
It is said about Ramkrishna that he was much too interested in food; in
fact obsessed. That is very unlikely. Even his wife, Sharada, used to
feel very embarrassed; because he was such a great saint, only with one
flaw -- and the flaw was that he was much too interested in food. He
was interested so much that while he was giving satsang to his
disciples, just in the middle he will say, "Wait, I am coming," and he
will go to look into the kitchen, what is being cooked. He will just go
there and ask, "What is being prepared today?" and then will come back
and start his satsang again.
His closest disciples became worried. They said, "This doesn't look
good, Paramhansa. And everything is so perfectly beautiful -- never has
there walked such a beautiful and perfect man -- but this small thing,
why can't you drop it?" He will laugh and will not say anything.
One day his wife Sharada insisted too much. He said, "Okay, if you
insist, I will tell. My prarabdha is finished; and I am just clinging
with this food. If I drop that I am gone."
The wife could not believe this. It is very difficult for wives to
believe in their own husbands -- even if the husband is a Paramhansa it
makes no difference. The wife must have thought that he is befooling,
or he is trying to rationalize. Seeing that, Ramkrishna said, "Look, I
can see that you are not trusting me, but you will know. The day I am
going to die, just three days before that day, three days before my
death, I will not look at the food. You will bring my thali in, and I
will start looking in another direction; then you can know that only
three days more am I to be here."
That too was not believed; they forgot about it. Then, just three days
before Ramkrishna died, he was resting, Sharada brought his thali, his
food: he turned over, started looking at the other side. Suddenly the
wife realized, remembered. The thali fell from her hands, she started
crying. Ramkrishna said, "Don't cry now. Now my work is finished; I
need not cling." And exactly after three days he died.
He was clinging in compassion, just trying to create a bondage with one
chain. The imprisonment is gone; the prison has disappeared. Out of
compassion he was trying to cling, to linger a little longer on this
shore, to help those who had gathered around him. But it is difficult
to understand a Paramhansa. It is difficult to understand a man who has
become a siddha, a Buddha, one who has emptied all his sanchita, all
accumulated karmas. It is very difficult. He has no gravitation, so
Ramkrishna was clinging to a rock. The rock has gravitation. He was
clinging to a rock so that he could linger on this earth a little
When you have samyama, a consciousness fully alert, you can see how
much karma is left. It is exactly like when a physician comes and he
sees and touches the pulse of a dying man, and he says, "Not more than
two, three hours." What is he saying? By long experience he has come to
know how the pulse beats when a person is going to die. Exactly that
way, a man who is alert knows how much prarabdha is left -- how much
pulse -- and he knows when he has to go.
This can be done in two ways. The sutra says either to focus on death,
that is prarabdha karma.... "By performing samyama on the two types of
karma, active and dormant, or upon omens and portents, the exact time
of death can be predicted." This can be done in two ways: either you
look at the prarabdha or there are a few omens and portents which can
|For example, before
one person dies, almost exactly near about nine
months before, something happens. Ordinarily we are not aware, because
we are not aware at all, and the phenomenon is very subtle. I say
almost nine months because it differs. It depends: the time between the
conception and the birth will be the time. If you were born after nine
months being in the womb, then nine months. If you were born after
being ten months in the womb, then ten months. If you were born after
seven months in the womb, then seven months. It depends on the amount
of time between the time of conception and birth. Exactly the same time
before death, something clicks in the hara, in the navel center. It has
to click because between the conception and birth there was a gap of
nine months: nine months you took for birth; exactly the same time will
be taken for death. As you prepared nine months in the mother's womb
for birth, you will have to prepare nine months to die. Then the circle
will be complete. Something in the navel center happens. Those who are
aware, they will immediately know that something has broken in the
navel center; now death is coming closer. Approximately nine months.
Or for example, there are other omens and other portents. A man, before
he dies, exactly six months before he dies, becomes by and by incapable
of seeing the tip of his own nose because eyes start turning upwards,
very slowly. In death they turn completely upwards, but they start the
turning, the returning journey, before death. That happens: when a
child is born, the child takes almost six months, that is usually --
there may be exceptions -- the child takes six months to have fixed
eyes. Otherwise the eyes are loose. That's why children can bring both
their eyes together near the nose, can take them far away to the
corners very easily. Their eyes are still loose. The day a child's eyes
become fixed: if that day comes after six months or nine months or ten
or twelve months, then exactly the same will be the time; again the
eyes will start becoming loose and moving upwards. That's why in India
villagers say -- they must have come to know from yogis -- that before
a man dies he becomes incapable of seeing the tip of his own nose.
And there are many methods in which yogis continuously watch the tip of
their nose. They concentrate on it. People who have been concentrating
on it, suddenly one day realize they cannot see their own nose. Now
they know the death is approaching near.
According to yoga physiology there are seven centers in man. The first,
the genital organs; and the last is sahasrar, in the head; between
these two there are five others. Whenever you die, you die from a
particular center. That shows your growth that you have been doing in
this life. Ordinarily, people die through the genital organ, because
the whole life people live around the sex center, continuously thinking
of sex, fantasizing about sex, doing everything about sex -- as if the
whole of life seems to be centered around the sex center. These people
die through the sex center. If you have evolved a little and you have
attained to love, gone beyond sex, then you will die from the heart
center. If you have evolved completely, if you have become a siddha,
you will die from the sahasrar.
The center you will die from will have an opening because the whole
life energy will be released from there....
Just a few days before, Vipassana died. Her brother Viyogi was asked to
hit her head; that has become symbolic in India. When a person dies and
is put on the funeral pyre, the head has to be hit. Just symbolic,
because if the person has attained to the ultimate, then the head will
break on its own; but the person has not attained. But we hope and
pray, and break the skull.
The point of release becomes open. This point can be seen. Some day or
other, when Western medical science will become aware of yoga
physiology, this also will become part of all postmortems -- how the
person died. Just now they see only whether he died naturally or was
poisoned or killed or committed suicide -- all ordinary things. The
most basic thing they miss, which has to be there on the report -- how
the person died: from the sex center, from the heart center, or from
sahasrar -- from where he died. And there is a possibility -- and yogis
have done much work on it -- it can be seen in the body because that
particular center breaks, as if an egg has broken and something has
gone out of it.
When somebody who has attained to samyama becomes, just three days
before he dies, aware from what center he is going to move, almost
always he moves from sahasrar. A certain activity, a movement, just at
the top of the head starts working three days before one dies.
These indications can prepare you how to receive death, and if you know
how to receive death in a great celebration, in great joy, in delight
-- almost dancing and in ecstasy -- you will not be born again. Your
lesson is complete. You have learned whatsoever was to be learned here
on this earth; now you are ready to move beyond for a greater mission,
for a greater life, for more unlimited life. Now you are ready to be
absorbed by the cosmos, by the whole. You have earned it.
One thing more about this sutra. The kriyaman karma, the day to-day
karma, is just a very small fragment; in modern psychological terms we
can call it the "conscious." Below it is prarabdha; in modern
psychological terms we can call it the "subconscious." Even below that
is sanchita; in modern psychological terms we can call it the
Ordinarily, you are not aware of your day-to-day activities, so how can
you be aware of prarabdha or sanchita? Impossible. So start by becoming
aware of day-to-day activities. Walking on the road, be alert. Eating
your food, be alert. Remain watchful of what you are doing. Remain with
the activity. Don't go here and there. Don't do things like a zombie.
Don't move as if you are in deep hypnosis. Whatsoever you are saying,
say everything fully alert, so that you are not going to repent ever.
When you say, "I am sorry. I said something which I never wanted to
say," that simply shows you were asleep, not aware. When you say, "I
did something, I don't know why and how. I don't know how it happened.
I have done it in spite of myself," then remember, you worked asleep.
You are a somnambulist walking in sleep.
Make yourself more and more alert. That is the meaning of being
here-now. Right now you are listening to me: you can be just the ears.
Right now you are seeing me: you can be just the eyes, fully alert, not
even a thought passing through your mind, no disturbance, no cloudiness
inside. Just focused on me -- totally listening, totally seeing --
being with me herenow: that is the first step.
If you attain to that, the second step becomes available; then you can
move into the subconscious. Then when somebody insults you, you will
not become aware only when you become angry. You will become aware
immediately somebody has insulted -- there, a certain anger has moved
into the subconscious depth of your being, just a small wave, very
subtle. If you are not very sensitive and aware, you will not know it
-- unless it erupts into the conscious you will not know it. By and by
you will become aware of subtle nuances, subtle shades of emotions --
that is prarabdha, the subconscious.
When you become aware of the subconscious, another step will become
available to you. The more you grow, the more growth becomes possible
to you. You will be able to see, now, the third step, the final step,
of becoming aware of sanchita, the accumulated past. Once you move into
the unconscious -- that means you are taking the light of consciousness
into the deepest core of your being -- you will become enlightened.
That is the meaning of becoming a Buddha -- nothing is in the dark now.
Every nook and corner is lighted. Then you live, you act, but you don't
accumulate any karma.