Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yoga: A Living Tradition


Modern man is more psychologically abnormal than the prescientific age. The crisis in the world today is more mental than the material. The age of reductionism and the age of anxiety as the world is known today has divided every aspect of human life manifested in the problems of existence and reflected in conflicts, tension, war, competition, jealousy, envy, violence and widespread dis-satisfaction. The disintegration of man, his bankruptcy in the inner space and abundance in the outer space is in fact a world problem. Because everything that happens in the world today grows out of what is happening to the individual and so the individual problem is the world problem. The science of man is wonderful and unparalleled but his psychology is deplorable. But the individual problem is the problem of existence with body, life and mind as manifested carrier and something beyond that is unmanifest. Man has traveled too far from himself while discovering and revealing the secrets of nature. He has scattered, divided himself where there is no place for values, feelings, unity and integration. He has to look within, gather his mental consciousness scattered outside, discover what he is in Reality, realize his essential nature and constantly live in “that” is the whole assertion of Yoga. Sri Aurobindo rightly said that self-conscious finding is yoga and this self-conscious finding in the midst of living breaks the prison of body and senses which allows only a distorted perception of reality, evolves mind beyond reasoning mentality and gradually shifts the center of individual from self-limited, cultural hypnosis of ego to universal and transcendental self. That makes yoga a living tradition as it aims at reality which is eternal, infinite, and blissful and beyond change, finite and afflictions.

     The object of yoga is not the denial of life of material existence i.e. body, life and mind but using these as instruments consciously to reveal the basis of Material Existence. Yoga is more concentrated to discover who is in body than the body itself, which is in the life than the life itself, which is in the mind than the mind itself. This makes yoga “a methodized effort towards self-perfection by the expression of potentialities latent in the being and a union of the human individual with the universal and transcendent” says Sri Aurobindo. To dwell in infinity, bliss, delight, love, harmony, compassion in the mist of all activities is the solution to all problems of existence but this kind of life is eternal which makes yoga a living tradition. Yoga is not only a living tradition but eternal too as it discovers one’s essential nature (Dharma) through meditation. Meditation resolves all discords of problems of existence and brings a creative realization of himself in which there is only room for harmony, love, integration, compassion, bliss and constant awareness of reality.

 Meditation: A Journey Modern Science to Spirituality (Comparative View)
     Modern science insisting matter as Reality while yoga insisting on Pure Self as reality appears to have divided the perception of the world into divergent, often opposing & contrary to each other but only for the sake: of discovering the reality underlying the universe. The Indian life since beginning has been a life of spirituality which revealed a life of egoless, a self-illuminating, self-existent truth pervading the whole cosmos while the western life has been a life of relative world of matter which realized life fulfilled only with material possessions, power and authority. It is important to understand clearly the basis of life and existence before resolving the problems related to them. Its both divergent views are concerned about life; therefore, it is essential to perceive the unity behind their conclusions, interpretations, basis which would enable the human being to realize the truth beyond change as well as in the midst of change.

     The concept of ultimate cause or the absolute truth, in modern science, is assumed to be within the range of physical laws of nature governing matter. This assumption lays the foundation that life can also be fully understood in terms of atoms, molecules and their interactions. As life is considered as manifestation of matter, originated by chance and from random combination of molecules interacting under the influence of blind natural laws over a period of many years. Then, is life mere pushes and pulls of these chemicals. Szent – Gyorgyi, the Nobel Laureate and a chemist said”….. In my search for the secret of life, I ended up with atoms & electrons which have no life at all. Somewhere, along the line, life has run out through my fingers…” In fact, a gene or DNA molecule is not life and collection of this molecule is not life. A life of feeling, meaning, purpose, love, compassion has been reduced to the life of dead matter, atoms, electrons and their interactions. “It is premature to reduce the vital process to the quite insufficiently developed conception of 19th and 20th century Chemistry & Physics says a French Physicist. It is difficult to explain, morality, honesty, humility, self-control, tolerance, ego in terms of molecular mechanisms. It is far from correct the laws governing matter are also the laws governing life. Yoga says that consciousness is the ultimate cause or absolute truth which is all pervading, all knowing, self-existent, blissful all powerful and infinite. It creates the world of name & form known as the material world and enters into every creation. The body, life, mind are its manifestations and original manifestation is known as Prakriti. When this consciousness is fully involved in lowest manifestations it begins the ascending process of evolution. The human being has fully evolved physical body, energy body, mental body as Prakriti and the self as Ultimate Consciousness (Purusha). The conscious journey to separate oneself from the manifestations and abiding in self is the aim of meditation. The approach of modern science is objective, experimental and reductionist, which begins with division and ends with an idea of holism. The reasoning mind divides and perception of reality. The spirit of inquiry to realize the self or the truth also follows in yoga almost in a similar fashion but only in the beginning and gradually awakens to knowledge that reasoning mind cannot perceive the truth wholly and integrally. So, effort is made in this process to perceive independently from senses which leads to total and united perception. Life is realized as a natural movement of the ultimate consciousness and in tune with Manifested world and Unmanifest. A Yoga aspirant feels no utility of objective experimentation in controlled conditions as everything concluded from the rational mind may help in eliminating the errors of perceptions but cannot understand its creator the ultimate truth.
     Modern Science considers mind and consciousness either as same or unable to explain in clear terms. It heavily depends on turning the mind outward in the field of known together information, facts related to matter, and mechanisms through senses and offers an indirect knowledge. Philosophy is the term lightly used as all principles of science and technology heavily relies on the science of logic. Mind is considered an instrument of knowledge tries to fathom the secrets of universe analytically, logically and concludes the life as a machine or in terms of mechanisms. Reasoning mind always moves in time that gives only a reference about truth but not the truth as it is. Mind is considered in yoga an instrument of consciousness and organizer of knowledge not as an instrument of knowledge. It is used in a similar fashion on yoga as Modern Science uses it but for keeping instruments fit and proper to receive the truth that too only in the beginning. But gradually synthetic, intuitional, multidimensional, creative aspect of mind are utilized to break the distorted perception built out of one’s conditionings habits, sensual perception unlike modern science where it is strengthened. Further mind is gathered inward so that mind begins studying the mind in the absence of any concept, pre-knowledge, image, imagination etc. And gradually mental self-awareness disappears and one realizes the absolute truth.

Meditation: A Journey from Modern Science to Spirituality-II (Union)

     Modern Science is based philosophic assumptions or world views that change continuously as the new discoveries replaces the old. It aims at understanding the secrets underlying the universe through these basic philosophic assumptions known as paradigms after objective experimentation, analysis, conclusions in controlled conditions. The Newtonian-Cartesian world view which started in the second half of the 17th century still dominating the modern science even when there is clear shift in paradigm after 19th century. This world view considers matter is real and self-dependent cause of evolution; from matter to life-higher species and also to human consciousness. World seen by the senses (indirect perception) is considered real as senses can see material or physical as factual and real. The life appeared by mere change; out of matter and energy and it further evolved into higher and higher species by genetic mutations, unguided and ungoverned struggle for existence. Mind, consciousness even creative intelligence, spirituality, art, ethics are considered the product of brain. This view was heavily supported by objective experimentation, clinical and experimental neurology, which brought knowledge about various physiological or pathological and/or psychological processes and various operations of nature’s functioning in the External world. Further this world view has developed a philosophy of life heavily depends on animal instincts viz money, sex and authority. This kind of life, this perception of world with animal instincts can never help in understanding/entering into the state of meditation. The world view cannot transform the life; bring delight, peace, harmony, compassion.

     Twentieth Century science is revising and discarding this world view in light of accumulation of contradictory data, concerning nature and her secrets. There appears a clear shift of paradigm which has opened a new area of knowledge about Nature, human consciousness and other related areas appears coming closer to the science of yoga and its concepts laid down before us many thousands of years ago by our seers & saints and yogis. Twentieth Century Science has questioned almost every paradigm of Newtonian – Cartesian era.

     The paradigm, of spirit-matter dualism central to classical physics has undergone a radical shift in this century

1. The sub-atomic particles acting as wave and particle both has replaced the world of substance to only process, event and relation. This further means that objective world of time & space no longer exists and what physics calls as facts falls into the category of possibilities.
2. Einstein theory of relatively compels us to realize that universe is not a machine but merely a network of events and relations.
3. Quantum mechanics presents that mere fact of observation alters the observed phenomenon, hence observed and the observed are both a combined event and cannot be regarded as separate.
4. William James in his famous Gifford lectures on natural religion later known as classic “Varieties of Religious” experience said “It is that our normal consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, these lies potential forms of consciousness entirely different… the presence in the midst of all the humbug, of really supernormal knowledge.”
5. Systems Theory: States why only man be regarded as an individual possessing body, life, mind and ego. But a social system, a family, ecological system, galaxy have peculiar individual attributes. They also are regarded as individual.
6. By Prigogine’s Theory of Dissipative or Non Equilibrium Structures : The old paradigm that thermal death is the ultimate end of all structure (Law of Thermodynamics) have been replaced by the fact that fluctuations can restore an order not only in chemical reactions, but all system from atoms to galaxy, even in society and cultures.   
7. Reality in Paranormal states : David Bohm (Physicist) proved that what we observe by senses is one aspect of reality, another aspect is revealed in episodes of mystical or paranormal states.
8. Space Vortex Theory : The four independent fields of Einstein have now been possibly replaced by one. Dr.D.Tiwari’s theory explains how they can be created, vortices in a mass less dynamic medium, which we call space or vacuum, when its whirling motion reaches the speed of light.

The above theories, concepts of modern science are very near to yogic concepts revealed in meditation to its practitioners.

Conclusions

1. There is neither space, time nor causation, neither beginning nor and…. It is all one – indicates Prakriti.
2. Reasoning mentality through senses cannot perceive the Reality. Mind is the barrier.
3. The whole manifested world is one and only one – Maya
4. Clinical death is myth.
5. One field theory indicates Prakriti.

     If the shift in paradigms opens a new and revolutionary area of knowledge it is also coming closer to the science of yoga and its ancient established concepts. Meditation is the state that discovers these aspects of reality and leads one to holism, integration, globalism, peace, harmony & bliss.

     Prakriti is the source of all manifestations with body; life and mind of human frame are its inclusive manifestations. There is neither space, nor time nor causation in the absolute truth but they are essentially one which indicates experience in meditation that is beyond time, space and causation. It is the mind which divides itself into subjective and objective reality but both observer and observed are essentially one and one has to transcend the very mental structure in meditation to witness the absolute reality. The new scientific paradigms even perceives that sensual perception restricts and limits the individual to objective perceptual reality and objective social self or ego which, in fact, do not exist.

Acharya Girish Jha took yoga and spirituality to its highest level by teaching it as the science of conscious evolution, a fact that attracted global attention. He taught over 60000 people world wide.  As a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Acharya combines the wisdoms of Yoga, Science and Spirituality based on authentic texts, himalayan tradition, and consciousness approach aims at Health, Harmony & Happiness.  http://www.shreyasyoga.com 

Yoga Plus Herbs, Marlboro Plaza, Intersection of Rte 9 and Rte 520 in Marlboro, NJ 07726, 732-617-2020, http://www.yogaplusherbs.com, info at yogaplusherbs dot com

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