We have recently made an important addition to the Original Yoga section of our website: a new book entitled Soham Yoga: the Yoga of the Self, by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri). To introduce you to this work, here is a selection from the instructions on the practice of So’ham Yoga:
“The supreme master of yoga, Gorakhnath, said this: “He who aspires to any attainment without the practice of yoga meditation cannot succeed in hundreds of years” (Gorakh Rahasyam 4).
Meditation is the process of centering our awareness in the principle of pure consciousness which is our essential being. In this way we will never lose sight of our real identity. That is why Lalla Yogeshwari used to sing:
My teacher spoke to me but one precept.
He said unto me, “From without enter the inmost part.”
That to me became a rule and a precept.
And therefore naked began I to dance. (Lalla Vakyani 94)
Divesting herself of all thoughts and impressions, external and internal, Lalla entered her eternal Self, and thus “naked” began to dance the dance of inner bliss that is the nature of the Self. As the Gita says: “Only that yogi whose joy is inward, inward his peace, and his vision inward shall come to Brahman and know Nirvana” (Bhagavad Gita 5:24).
Normally we lose awareness of our true Self through consciousness of external objects. Since we are habituated–if not actually addicted–to objective consciousness, we can use that very condition to our advantage. Rather than disperse our consciousness through objects that draw us outward, away from the source of our being, we can take an object that will have the opposite effect, present it to the mind, and reverse our consciousness.
Such an object must have two qualities: (1) it must be something whose nature it is to turn our awareness inward and draw it into the most subtle depths of our being, and (2) it must be something that can continue to be perceived even in those most subtle areas of our awareness. Therefore it must be an object that can both impel and accompany our questing consciousness inward, not being transcended when the mind and senses are gone beyond.
That object is the mantra So’ham. Sound and consciousness are, practically speaking, the same. Since the individual spirit (jivatman) and God (Paramatman) are essentially one though not the same, we can conclude that So’ham, repeated within the mind in japa and meditation, will produce the consciousness of both Atman-Selves and restore their lost unity.”
We have recently added the ebook The Philosophy of Gorakhnath—by Akshay Kumar Banerjea, which is often mentioned in Abbot George’s writings, to our website in PDF form. In this book Bannerjea has presented the primal tradition of Yoga–especially the philosophy–in a full and flawless manner. It was first published by the Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur, India, which is the main center of the Nath Yogi sampradaya, and thereby carries the highest authority. [This file is large, over 20mb, so allow time for it to download or show up in your browser.]