“On his arrival at the cave he saw a lustrous figure sitting in a lotus pose and meditating. He had spread some earth on two logs of wood and covered it with the bark of a tree, and was sitting on that seat. His pose was quiet and absolutely motionless”
Science of Soul by Swami Vyas Dev Ji, published in 1959 in Hindi (English in 1964) is a book about Yoga, both exoteric and esoteric. This book is very hard to find but so valuable a resource I wanted to put it up on Beezone.
The first part of the book is autobiographical and then goes into how he ‘acquired this secret of soul’. The part of this ‘acquisition’ is printed below in the Quest of the Precepter.
This is the actual meeting of Swami Vyas Dev Ji (Swami Yogeshwarananda) and the “Precepter”, Atmanandji
Quest of the Precepter
Vyasa Deva was determined to proceed to Gangotri after his Ardhakumbhi. The preceptor had fixed the time of showing himself on the day of Sankranti in the month of Ashwin. Hence first Vyasa Deva went to Jamnotri. He had minimum luggage with him which he carried on his shoulders. He rested where ever night felt but stayed longer at pleasant spots. For a long time he used to have just one meal a day and cooked it himself. On the way to Jamnotori, there is a halting place named Shinli. Close to it there is a forest of ‘cheed’ and below it flows the Jamuna. Vyasa Deva felt a joyful quiet while sitting on the bank of the Jamuna and he resolved to practice Yoga there for some time. This desire had arisen in him after a long time and he repented having wasted so much time on traveling. He quieted himself and went into the Samadhi of several hours. When he awoke a villager was sitting in front of him with food in his hands. He bowed to Vyasa Deva and said, “I have been sitting here for long with food.” Vyasa Deva accepted half the food and returned the other half to him. He invited Vyasa Deva for meals every day, but the latter could not consent. Then the man wanted permission to bring the meals to which Vyasa Deva agreed. He stayed there for nearly a month. He used to meditate for ten hours sitting in the same pose. Then Vyasa Deva went to Jamnotri but stayed there only three days because the place was swarming with pilgrims.
From there he went to Uttarkashi and took his lodging in the cottage of Brahaji in Thekla. This man knew many practices of Hatha Yoga. On Vyasa Deva’s arrival, he went away to some place. But he had allotted a room for him. Near Thekla was a small rivulet and on its bank there were three caves. Vyasa Deva went to see these caves one day. When he heard a hissing sound from one of them he thought that it was a snake. But on close examination he found that a Sadhu was sitting with his back towards the door and performing Bhastrika Pranayam. When breathing exercise was over the Sadhu began the poses and was occupied for an hour with them. The Sadhu asked Vyasa Deva if he knew more poses than what he had seen.
Vyasa Deva said I can go through all the poses just now. I can do two hundred poses and forty kinds of breathing exercises. I can demonstrate the poses just now. The Sadhu then stood on his two hands, he raised one hand and stood only on the other. After that he balanced his whole body, for about two minutes on his one thumb. He said, “I shall show you the Pranayam exercise just now, when I go to the Ganges for bath.” Vyasa Deva accompanied him to the bank. The Sadhu sat in the lotus pose on a place of stone. Through one of his nostrils he inhaled air and puffed up his body. Then he sat on the water of Ganges and in that pose he floated along the current for 300 feet. Then he turned back, reached the stone and sat on it. It was found that his body was not at all wet. Only his feet and thighs were wet. Vyasa Deva fell at his feet and said, “Our country knows these secrets on account of great men like you.” Then Vyasa Deva and the Sadhu had their bath in the Ganges and the Sadhu said, “These days I am practicing walking in the sky. I believe I shall be able to do it in three or four years.” Vyasa Deva asked him where he mostly lived. The Sadhu said, “I am a celibate and live on Mount Abu. Here I have come just for pilgrimage.” Vyasa Deva said, “Kindly have your meals with me today.” The Sadhu used to cook his own meals and consumed only two chhatak of flour and one chhatak of ghee in 24 hours. He had brought food for 8 days to Uttarkashi. Therefore he declined the invitation. Vyasa Deva expressed a desire to learn certain poses, breathing exercises and walking in the sky.
The Sadhu agreed to instruct him but said that he would have to stay with him on Mount Abu. At that time the Sadhu was on his way to Gangotri and Badrinath. He gave his address to Vyasa Deva and told him that he could come when he liked. Vyasa Deva said, “I also have to go to Harsil on the Sankranti day to see a saint. I have a desire to learn Yoga from him. After that I shall come to you.” The Sadhu proceeded to Gangotri the next day and Vyasa Deva having stayed till the 20th at Bhradpada left for Harsil. He stayed with Brahmchari Raja Ram there and began his quest for the Sadhu.
Meeting the Precepter
Near Harsil there is a place known as Bagori. It is generally visited by persons coming from Nilang and Tibet. They are called Jad. Vyasa Deva asked them if any Sadhu had come that way from the Tirthapuri. One of them said, “The Sadhu had certainly come but his where abouts were not known. He observed silence and might be living in a cave and if a search was made he will be found out. But for a long time he has not been seen.” On getting this little clue Vyasa Deva started in quest of him on the bank of the Shyam Ganga. While he was thus busy on the bank of Shyam Ganga the Ashwin Sankranti day arrived. Vyasa Deva felt much dejected and disappointed but did not relinquish the search. While he was going about the search for him he discerned a line of smoke coming out from a cave. Vyasa Deva felt as though he heard a voice from his heart asking him to proceed to that cave and meet the Sadhu. Vyasa Deva made the smoke his target and went in that direction. On his arrival at the cave he saw a lustrous figure sitting in a lotus pose and meditating. He had spread some earth on two logs of wood and covered it with the bark of a tree, and was sitting on that seat. His pose was quiet and absolutely motionless. The movement of his breath was extremely slow and subtle. it appeared as though he had transported himself into a deep state and all his worldly affairs had ceased. He had acquired control on nature and its subtle and material activities. He had renounced the world and dived deep in the recesses of his heart. All had become one with God. Joy or sorrow, insult or honor, loss or gain, success or failure or any other opposite did not touch him. No activity what-so-ever was traceable in his sense organs or mind. All was quiet. For two hours Vyasa Deva watched him standing. It was at noon that the Sadhu opened his eyes. Vyasa Deva made him obeisance lying prostrate on the ground and remained in that position for long. The Sadhu asked Vyasa Deva to get up and tell when he had come and why. Vyasa Deva said, “I have come for your Darshan.” The Sadhu said, “You have had it. Now please withdraw.” Vyasa Deva again said, “I am greatly interested in Yoga. I have been practicing it for several years but not yet acquired real knowledge.” During Samadhi I feel in a state of nothingness. But so far I have not acquired any knowledge of the self. I feel much disappointed. If you do me the favour my life would be a success. I will feel greatly benefited and shall ever be so grateful. I shall not go away from your door till I have obtained something satisfactory from you. I have come to you with great hope.” With these words Vyasa Deva placed some sweets before the Sadhu. But the latter said, “I do not take sweet and live only on fruits and roots. Therefore, kindly take back the sweets and use them yourself. Today you have brought them but who will do it tomorrow for me. Please wait for sometime and let me entertain you.’ The Sadhu had kept some roots buried in the earth in the cave. He took them out and put them into fire. In shape they resembled potatoes. Then he went away for his bath. Vyasa Deva also kept his little luggage near the cave and left for bath. After two hours the Sadhu pealed off the skin of the roots and ate them. He gave a few to Vyasa Deva whom he then sent to rest in a small neighboring cave. Next day early morning Vyasa Deva presented himself before the Sadhu and sat on the sand of the river in a pose as asked by the Saint.
ACQUISITION OF REAL KNOWLEDGE
Talk with Precepter
The Sadhu explained the difficult method of Yoga at length. He said, “Only a few pursue it. Most seekers leave it half completed. As soon as they acquire petty perfection’s they sit down to stick to them and forget their true object. The man is never satisfied by worldly enjoyments. They are like mirage. Hence it is best for a man to withdraw himself from them. This helps him in reaching the goal of life. Life’s aim is not enjoyment, but liberation from sorrow. Yama offered to Nachiketa objects of enjoyments but he would not accept them and wanted only the realization of the self. A Yogi should desire only the knowledge of the self or the over-self and nothing else. But to cultivate such attitude is very difficult. It requires tremendous self-abnegation. You are entitled to learn Yoga and realize the the self only if you have withdrawn your sense organs from objects. You have wandered about much, now you should cease wandering.” Vyasa Deva held the Sadhu’s feet, and with tears flowing from his eyes and hands folded he said, “Sir 1 shall ever be deeply grateful to you and will abide by your directions. I shall constantly follow the path you will point out. I considered it a great privilege to surrender myself to you. It is my great fortune to have found you. Your kindness will be a bliss for me. I have been practicing austerities for long for the realization of knowledge but without success.” The preceptor said, “You deviated from the path of the Yoga in your former life. But now you have been endeavoring since boyhood in this life. Parmanand Avadhut put you on the right path. But you left it in the middle.” Vyasa Deva said, “Do you know this Avadhut. How do you come to know that I practiced Yoga under him in Kashmir.” The preceptor smiled a bit but made no reply. Vyasa Deva then humbly said, ‘I am very much surprised at your food. it contains no cereals, no ghee, no milk and no vegetable, and even in the absence of all you are healthy and have lived long.” The preceptor gave a suitable reply. “The wealthy take heavy meals. Yet they are ever ailing and live long. The foresters eat neither cereals nor ghee and drinks no milk and yet how healthy and long-lived they are. What contributes to health and long life of a Yoga are light meals, little sleep, little speech and no anxiety. Vyasa Deva again asked, “Sir why do you live in such lonely place.” The precenter said, “While living in lonely place a man has no contact with objects of enjoyments.” Vyasa Deva said, “But Sir their memory survives.”
The Sadhu said, “The Yogi who wants salvation extinguishes these memories by a Samadhi called ‘Asampragyat. When you reside in a lonely forest the objects of enjoyment gradually disappear from memory. You do not and cannot get them and, therefore, a desire to enjoy them does not arise. Hence the sense organs, the mind and intellect are ever quiet. In the absence of contact with the objects of enjoyments the mind and intellect gradually give up their external activities and become introspective. This is the way to strengthen renunciation. Renunciation should be a conscious effort.” Vyasa Deva again asked, “In that case even the roots should not be earned.” The Sadhu said, “If if is done, it will amount to suicide. This is the minimum requirement. Without it life cannot sustain. If I had not done it how could you be benefited,” Vyasa Deva said, “Sir in this way you can benefit lots of people.” The Sadhu said, “It all depends upon getting disciples who are fit and endured with four fold methods of realizing the self.” Vyasa Deva requested the Sadhu to introduce him to the knowledge of self. The Sadhu said, “Mere words do not give knowledge.” Then he began to explain how the knowledge is imparted through Sampragyat Samadhi.
The Knowledge of self and our self
The Sadhu said, “I will first put you in Samadhi with the strength of my mind, and you \vill enter the gross body. You will know the nerves and the constitution of the body. You will open your eyes of the knowledge and became an introvert. You will know everything inside the body. Then you will acquire the knowledge and renunciation which lead to salvation. After that you will see the ten Circles and rise of the Prana and Kundalini. You will be surprised to see these things. Further you will see ten kinds of breath, the activities of each in its own sphere, and their different colors and shapes. You will understand that the gross body and breath are closely related. The gross body cannot exist without breath. As the breath is necessary for the gross body so is tejas for it. Tejas is the function of fire element. They both combine to sustain the gross body. The functions like digestion etc. are helped by Tej. In its absence the gross body becomes lifeless. When you have learnt the science of the gross body you will be admitted to the science of the subtle body which is situated in Brahmrandhra particularly and in the whole body generally. You will witness its activity, colour and light. In the subtle body you will receive eleven elements. You will also realize the creation and activities of the organs of knowledge, organs of action, punchtantmatra, mind and intellect. Here only you will understand the functions of the gross and subtle element. Then you will enter the region of heart which is the causal body You will see, Ahankar, Chitt, Soul, Prakarti, and Ishwar as one whole then you will rise about the three bodies see them pervading in the sky. Eventually you will see that the Prakarts in the cause of the thirty two elements and is pervaded by Brahma. Brahma is the Pervader and prakarti is pervaded.
Sampragyat Samadhi and the knowledge of Prakrit and Purush
The preceptor asked Vyasa Deva to sit in the posture to which he was accustomed He sat quietly near the preceptor and began to look at him in Tratak manner. After a few minutes the preceptor touched the head of Vyasa Deva with his thumb and fingers of the right hand which closed his eyes automatically. Then all external activities ceased and he was not conscious of the presence of the preceptor or his own. His mind, breath, organs and intellect quieted. A supernatural light appeared at the base which brightened the whole body, and the internal organs became visible. After it a light from the Brahmrandhra began to radiate and every thing inside the body was visualized. It was at this time that Vyasa Deva realized the knowledge which he has described in his Science of Soul and Science of Divinity. From 5 PM to 10 AM he was in samadhi. During this period of 17 hours, he acquired all the knowledge. The revered preceptor tapped the head of Vyasa Deva with the fingers of his right hand and said, “You have now achieved your object. Your knowledge of the soul and Brahma is complete. Get up and go the way you have chosen. I have imparted to you the whole knowledge. You have to steady it by staying in a lonely place and observance of silence.”
Rise from Samadhi
Vyasa Deva’s eyes opened and tears streamed from them. He felt a sort of numbness all over the body. His tongue was excited but silent. He bowed at the feet of the preceptor and washed them with the tears of his eyes The preceptor said, “Get up my son. It is not the time to weep but to be happy, and to experience delight.” The revered preceptor then explained and described the objects which Vyasa Deva had perceived in the state of his samadhi. This had been explained in detail by Vyasa Deva in his book entitled, “The Science of Soul.” This is only individual knowledge and relates to the soul. The cosmic knowledge has been described by him in his, “Science of Divinity.” Vyasa Deva with his hands folded and head bowed asked to be permitted to stay in the service of his Guru, but he was not permitted because the preceptor did not keep anybody with him. Vyasa Deva said, “You have put me under a great obligation and done me immense good. I can never repay this debt, even in several future lives. For me you are a God incarnate. I have no words to describe the good you have done me and the virtues you possess.” The Guru at last advised Vyasa Deva to live in a solitary place and observe extreme silence and thus establish the knowledge he had obtained. He also asked him to observe the ten rules. As a fence protects a field, so do the rules protect a novice. The ten rules which Vyasa Deva was asked to follow were as follows:
1. To give up indolence and steady this knowledge, establish the knowledge of Prakarti and Purush and to feel detached from the acts of prakarti.
2. To give up pride and be humble and polite, to suppress anger and feel ever quiet, serene and carefree.
3. Not to associate with young ladies in solitary places and to avoid all eight kinds of sexual pleasure.
4. To respect elders and teachers, not to criticize them openly or secretly to associate with large hearted people, and strength then knowledge and attitude of renunciation.
5. Not to find taults with anybody, to examine oneself and remove the defects found or lurking.
6. Not to commercialize the knowledge of Yoga. If a perfection is achieved, not to feel proud of it and not to demonstrate it.
7. The knowledge of Yoga is secret and must be kept secret. It should be imparted only to a deserving person so that it bears fruits. It is not necessary to have much contact with worldly people. Correspondence must be limited to only necessary affairs.
8. Examine your faults every week and see how many of them have been removed in a month. In this manner, the faults die out.
9. Not to allow the organs of sense to run after their objects. If knowledge and thought cannot withdraw them, then curb them by force. Continue to suppress sexual desire, anger, greed, attachment, egoism and hatred. Be equable whether you are honored or insulted, praised or denounced, happy or unhappy, loser or gainer, never lose mental equanimity. Do not be perturbed in any circumstances.
10. Always observe restraints and regulations. They form the foundation of Yoga, practice the eight fold yoga daily. These rules and restraints will establish your knowledge.
Personality of Guru
The Guru was an extremely simple man, and spoke easy Sanskrit. His way of explaining things was very interesting and his speech was wonderfully sweet. He was exceedingly affectionate and a personification of knowledge and renunciation. He wae selfless, detached and a devoted Yogi. His name was Atmanandji.
The chapter on the description of
as the Center of Consciousness
The description of the elements of the Heart Center
The description of the meeting of “The Preceptor”..the source of Science of the Soul.
Introduction Chapter of Science of Soul