Description and how to Follow Pratyara practically in Daily Life
Pratyahara is a Sanskrit word which means Withdrawal of Senses. Maharshi Pananjali mentioned it as Fifth Limb in his 8 Limbs of Yoga. Pratyahara in 8 Limbs of Yoga mainly teaches to remove Attachments from Life. Senses are the means by which we feel this world. When our conduct is too much dependent on the Senses, our Karma is stuck by attachments. Attachments Make Karma impure. Purity of Karma i.e. the harmony of mind, body and soul is must for successful Ashtanga Yoga. Thus, Removal of these attachments is very important in Yoga.
The five basic human senses are Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste and Touch. The question is how it is possible to withdraw these senses? Arjuna in Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta asked Yogesh Shri Krishna the same question? Arjuna says If I have been given eyes it will see. If I have ears it will hear. So how to withdraw senses from and prevent impurity of Karma.
Shri Krishna shows the way of Pratyahara then. Krishna replies- Yes, it is out of your control whether to see or not to. But what to see is something you can have control on. When you see Good and the Bad with same attitude you are freed from attachments. It is our feeling that makes our Karma impure.
If you are neither attached to your favorite music nor frustrated by a dog barking near you then your hearing will remain pure and won’t be affected by Moh. If you enjoy winters and summers with same feel then your Senses will remain pure. When you practice Pratyahara you take Success and Failure with same attitude.
Easy Way to Understand Prayahara in 8 Limbs of Yoga
Success and Failure, Good and Bad, Like and dislike, Profit and Loss are relative terms. Ashtanga Yoga demands one to focus on absolute terms. Earning $1000 can be a loss for the one who makes $5000 per deal but at the same time the same $1000 is a gain for the one who makes $500 per deal. You may not have liking for a food, cloth or thing but someone else may be fond of that. Similarly, you may have developed liking something today that you have disliked some years back. Thus when you practice Yoga you must concentrate on absolute things rather than relative feelings.
Pratyahara is not exactly to stop the senses but it is redirection of the senses to the way to Yoga Life. Withdrawal of the senses is actually the withdrawal of Attachments related to the senses. It is for Pratyahara that a Yogi is recommended to follow Simple Living High Thinking formula. Simple Living helps you to get rid of Moh. Then High Thinking helps you in achieving the biggest Goals in Life.
In the beginning it is very difficult to practice Pratyahara as our lives revolves around the senses. But developing a similar attitude to what makes us happy and what makes us angry makes Pratyahara practice similar. It is advised to keep mind calm and compost.
With Pratyahara your mind and heart become like an ocean. Whenever someone tries hitting a stone in it goes fruitless. It becomes impossible for anyone to control you with either greed or anger. Thus, Pratyahara is another step to remove Kaam (Lust), Kroadh (Anger), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Attachments) from your life. These four are prime enemies in the Pursuance of Moksha (Salvation). Hence it is very useful to practice this fifth Limb of Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga.
Moksha (Salvation) is the Ultimate Goal of Human Life. Pratyahara in 8 Limbs of Yoga opens the doors of Moksha. When the Focus is redirected from Attachments to Yoga the practitioner, witnesses miraculous results. The toughest looking Goals become simple and manifest to reality.
Our Attachments are one of the biggest hurdles in the Path to Success. But practicing Pratyahara eradicates not only moh but also fear from our Life thus making the impossible, achievable. It shifts paradigm from weakness to strength and disowns anybody’s control in your life. You feel free and nobody matches the power of creating any disturbances (or distract you by greed, anger, stress or worry) in your ultimate peaceful life. Focus on Absolute feelings of Love, Compassion and Humanity to get the best out of this Life. By this Practice you develop Patience and get rid of Lethargy and Inaction.