Self-Inquiry - Dawn of the Witness and the End of Suffering Paperback – Dec 20 2007
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About the Author
Yogani is the author of the Advanced Yoga Practices (AYP) system, including more than a dozen Instructional Titles available in Paperback, Kindle eBook and AudioBook editions, covering all aspects of Full-Scope Yoga Practice. Since 1970, he has crossed the lines between many traditions, developing an effective integration of methods including Deep Meditation, Spinal Breathing Pranayama, Hatha, Kundalini, Tantra, Self-Inquiry, and more. It is a flexible, scientific approach rather than a rigid, arbitrary one, and open to public scrutiny, as all spiritual knowledge should be nowadays. He has no desire for guru status - only to have the joy of making a small contribution to helping the disciplines of spiritual practice become open to everyone. He wishes to remain anonymous, preserving a quiet life in practices. AYP is not about the author. It is about all who long for knowledge. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Jnana Yoga is one aspect of Yoga that has always been notoriously difficult to teach -- and it has been taught, not necessarily under that name or even under the name of Yoga at all, by many teachers over time. It's essence is hard to capture but one short (though inadequate) definition is 'The Yoga of Understanding'. It has long histories of enthusiastic teachers and disappointed disciples. This book, 'Self-Inquiry - Dawn of the Witness and the End of Suffering', is a short and effective course on Jnana Yoga, or Self-Inquiry as Yogani calls it.
It will be effective because Yogani has understood and explained the pre-conditions for Self-Inquiry. The book invites you to Self-Inquiry, in the presence of its pre-conditions, and explains how to continually cultivate those pre-conditions. In conjunction with other books in his series, particularly Deep Meditation, this is a great book for anyone who wants to penetrate the spiritual reality within.
Yogani's book covers this aspect of self inquiry, emphasizing the importance of having a daily meditation practice in place that will help transcend the mind and increase inner silence (awaken the witness in you). Once the witness is awake, self inquiry becomes a way of life rather than something you have to work at to "get". He explains how self inquiry is not about running away from the world, but to be completely immersed in your world, filled with love and compassion, without being mentally and emotionally attached to it in a clingy way.
This book covers the five stages of mind on the way to spiritual maturity: Pre-Witnessing, Witnessing, Discrimination, Dispassion, and Merging of Subject and Object in Outpouring Divine Love. The stage of mind will determine what kind of self inquiry will work the best. Taking on more than you can handle will definitely slow down progress. Self Inquiry works best when the witness is present. In this book, Yogani calls self inquiry with the witness already established (through meditation), "relational self inquiry."
Two main kinds of self inquiry are covered in this book. There is self inquiry that arises in our every day life. We can inquire into things that worry us or bother us or make us unhappy, things that are considered "mental baggage" and how to free ourselves from this. The other kind of self inquiry is for the ultimate truth. These are questions that arise in us like "Who am I?" and "Who is doing this?" The answers to these questions are found by letting go into our silent witness.
He points out the pitfalls the mind can fall into along the way on a path of self inquiry, and how to avoid them -- over analyzing, being deceived by the feeling of having "arrived," and claiming life to be "unreal" while retreating from responsibilities. He also shows how self inquiry fits into the 8 limbs of yoga, including covering the intimate and powerful relationship between samyama (an advanced yoga practice) and self inquiry.
Most of what Yogani has written has been my experience too, and I definitely recommend this book for people who are thinking of starting out with self inquiry. This will give you a good set of guidelines to follow as you move along. If you are into self inquiry already, it will be a good book to go through for a reality check.
It does not matter whether one follows a down-to-earth approach to self inquiry like Byron Katie or Eckhart Tolle, or an "ultimate truth" approach like Ramana Maharishi or Nisagardatta. This book is very useful for understanding and effectively utilizing any system of self inquiry.
This is where Yogani excels. He cuts thru all the philosophical confusion and gives stable data which you can use to navigate and chart your course. In clear and simple language, he makes plain the requisite fundamental concepts and outlines the game plan of what needs to be done for steady progress into higher and higher states of consciousness.
The emphasis is on self pacing and maintaining a steady practice above all else because, as he says, it is practice that creates experiences, not vice versa. He creates the necessary map that will allow steady progress in the right direction and above all explains the nature and growth of the self in a way that has real world applicability.
It is a very useful little book, a little gem.
The sections on "Practical Applications of Self-Inquiry" and "Pitfalls of the Mind" were excellent and would help spiritual seekers avoid the many distractions or wrong turns that anyone is capable of making while navigating the sometimes hard to see spiritual path.
The only reservations I had on the book were in the areas of readability. I felt overall, that particularly the beginning chapters of the book could have used more real-life examples to get past the limitations of language. I found myself needing to re-read a lot in order to understand some of the author's points. I also felt one of the primary points of the book, that self-inquiry needs "the witness" present in order to be effective, could have been made with more brevity. I personally would have preferred to see more time spent hearing Yogani's unique perspective and wisdom on the practical applications of self-inquiry instead.
Overall, a mind expanding read which I would recommend to any advanced spiritual seekers.