The Holy Science - The Procedure
Excerpts from The Holy Science by Sri Yukteswar
Yajna, sacrifice, means penance (Tapas), deep study (Swadhyaya), and the practice of meditation on Aum (Brahmanidhana).
Penance is patience or evenmindedness in all conditions (equanimity amidst the essential dualities of Maya; cold and heat, pain and pleasure, etc.).
Swadhyaya consists of reading or hearing spiritual truth, pondering it, and forming a definite conception of it.
(Meditation on) Pranava, the divine sound of Aum, is the only way to Brahman (Spirit), salvation.
Aum is heard through cultivation of Sraddha (heart's natural love), Virya (moral courage), Smriti (memory of one's divinity), and Samadhi (true concentration).
Sraddha is intensification of the heart's natural love.
Moral courage (Virya) arises from Sraddha, directing one's love toward the guru, and from affectionately following his instructions.
Moral courage is strengthened by observance of Yama (morality or self-control) and Niyama (religious rules).
Yama comprises noninjury to others, truthfulness, nonstealing, continence, and noncovetousness.
Niyama means purity of body and mind, contentment in all circumstances, and obedience (following the instructions of the guru).
Hence bondage disappears.
The eight bondages or snares are hatred, shame, fear, grief, condemnation, race prejudice, pride of family, and smugness.
(Removal of the eight bondages) leads to magnanimity of heart.
Thus one becomes fit to practice Asana, Pranayama, and Pratyahara; and to enjoy the householder's life (by fulfilling all one's desires and so getting rid of them).
Asana means a steady and pleasant posture of the body.
Pranayama means control over prana, life force.
Pratyahara means withdrawal of the senses from external objects.
Smriti, true conception, leads to knowledge of all creation.
Samadhi, true concentration, enables one to abandon individuality for universality.
Hence arises Samyama ("restraint" or overcoming the egoistic self), by which one experiences the Aum vibration that reveals God.
Thus the soul (is baptized) in Bhakti Yoga (devotion). This is the state of Divinity.
In the dark state of the heart, man harbors misconceptions (about everything). This state is a result of Avidya, Ignorance, and produces a Sudra (a man of the lowest caste). He can grasp only ideas of the physical world. This state of mind is prevalent in Kali Yuga, the Dark Age of a cycle.
Passing beyond the first stage in Brahma's plan, man strives for enlightenment and enters the natural Kshatriya (warrior) caste.
He is propelled (by evolutionary forces) to struggle (for truth). He seeks a guru and appreciates his divine counsel. Thus a Kshatriya becomes fit to dwell in the worlds of higher understanding.
The worlds or Lokas of creation are seven: Bhu, Bhuvar, Swar, Mahar, Jana, Tapo, and Satya. (This earth, and the "earthy" stage of man's consciousness, are called Bhuloka.)
Entering Bhuvarloka ("air" or "the world of becoming") man becomes a Dwija or "twice born." He comprehends the second portion of material creation—that of finer, subtler forces. This state of mind is prevalent in Dwapara Yuga.
In Swarloka ("heaven") man is fit to understand the mysteries of Chitta, the magnetic third portion of material creation. He becomes a Vipra (nearly perfect being). This state of mind is prevalent in Treta Yuga.
Through true repentance man reaches Maharloka (the "great world"). No longer subject to the influence of ignorance, Maya, he attains a clean heart. He enters the natural caste of the Brahmanas ("knowers of Brahma"). This state of mind is prevalent in Satya Yuga.
Not merely reflecting but manifesting Spiritual Light, man rises to Janaloka, the kingdom of God.
Then he passes into Tapoloka, the sphere of Kutastha Chaitanya.
Abandoning the vain idea of his separate existence, he enters Satyaloka, wherein he attains the state of final release or Kaivalya, oneness with Spirit.
In this way, when the heart becomes purified, it no longer merely reflects but manifests Spirit.