Thursday, February 3, 2011
DHYANA YOGA = 100 % EXPERIMENTAL & EXPERIENTIAL SCIENCE = POST.1 = SCIENCE vs RELIGION vs YOGA = ONE MUST - READ BOOK = HUMAN LIMITATIONS = WAYS TO SURMOUNT THEM
THE PRECURSOR TO PANTANJALI’S YOGA SUTRAS
Meditation is a unique science. Its capabilities and beneficial effects are immense and far beyond the capabilities of other sciences.
External world : Other sciences explore the external world within the cognitive capabilities of the five senses and the mind. It is a big world. From sub atomic particles to Galaxies, from viruses and bacteria to the human beings and big animals, – the area of investigation of the other sciences is indeed immense. But the big world that the other sciences explore and investigate is ever changing. Even the body-mind complex of the human being is ever changing and ever evolving. There is not an atom in the world which is not changing in some way every moment. In respect of the External world, change is the only permanent feature.
This means that every science has to be doing the catching-up act with the ever-changing world all the time. This is the impossibility of human knowledge ever becoming complete, final and absolute.
Inner World : The whole of the external world is, however, a mere perception – as far as the Individual human being is concerned. The perception by the human mind happens through the five senses, which are the Gateways through which the mind perceives, interprets and understands the External world. For all practical purposes, the world exists in the mind and the five sense instruments. Beauty is a perception. Ugliness is a perception. Goodness is a perception. Badness is a perception. Happiness is a perception. Sorrow is a perception. The mind has vast capabilities of imagination – but even imagination beyond sensory perception also arises in the mind as a result of some pre-recorded sensory perception. Even imagination within mind – has to have at its base the five sense perceptions of sound, touch, visible form, taste, and smell, which are the only capabilities of the five senses. Beyond these five faculties, there is no imagination at all in the mind.
Exploring Parts, Not Whole : All modern sciences look at each part of the world in its independent role, while, in reality, everything is one complex whole. Nothing has an independent existence in the universe. There is therefore no way of ever translating human knowledge into true wisdom. The wholesomeness of the universe can therefore not be understood through the current scientific approaches.
Individual’s Finite Capability : while the knowledge database of human Society as a whole is increasing every moment, with every human effort, yet, what an individual human being can comprehend and assimilate in this huge, complex knowledge database is not increasing much; perhaps not increasing at all. All the databases are outside the human being. We access them through specialists or other special means.
ONE EXAMPLE : We do not find a person today, who can equal the knowledge of Ved Vyas, the author of Mahabharat, who must have lived several thousands of years ago. Ved Vyas wrote, compiled, revised and created many, many great books. The sciences which existed in those days were different, but the overall knowledge of an individual of those days - was certainly not inferior to today. Mental Gymnastics performed in earlier days like Astavadhana, Sathavadhana and Sahasravadhana are unthinkable for modern man, not groomed in the Gurukul style of teaching and learning. The Individual’s finite (mind) capabilities do not seem to be increasing much at all.
Universal Suspense : There is yet another paradox with modern sciences. They do not know and there is no way of knowing with its existing means, what changes are occurring all over the universe and how the world would be, say, after a decade. What causes these changes all over the Universe? Where are the galaxies all over the universe journeying? From sub atomic particles to the galaxies – all are on a never ending cosmic journey. Who knows the purpose and destination of these journeys? Who? At the sub atomic particle level and at the Galaxy level, there are too many unanswerable questions relating to the Universe.
Senses Based Cognition : All human knowledge, as earlier discussed, is received through senses. There is no knowledge that we can receive without the aid of the senses. But, all senses have finite range of capabilities. Below and beyond this range they are powerless. Each sense has a single capability – and cannot take over the function of another. Each sense also has a limited focus. Perception is limited to the focus area. Beyond the immediate focus area, they don’t perceive, though functional. There is yet another paradox. What the sense instrument receives can be different from what the mind perceives!! A rope seen by the eye can be perceived as a snake by the mind. Sense based cognition is a highly imperfect cognition of the external reality (if there really is some thing like a fixed reality). We can extend sense capability through mechanical means to some extent, but, Whatever is beyond the senses and their mechanical aids – is beyond human knowledge. And, there is a huge knowledge base beyond them. This much, we all know beyond doubt.
Religion : Religions are called FAITH. Religions proclaim many things which are beyond the five senses. Religions don’t offer you any proof for what they proclaim as the Truth. They want you to believe.
They have prophets and they have books. They claim descent from the Almighty, to whom they give a name. No other name seems to be acceptable to most religions. If all of them proclaim the SAME TRUTH, it would be wonderful. But, that luxury is not there for the world. There are different prophets and different books for different regions and different people, proclaiming widely differing things as the TRUTH.
You belong to your religion, swear by your prophet and by your Book. Your neighbor belongs to his religion, swears by his prophet and by his book. Yet another belongs to yet another religion, swears by his prophet and by his book. And, the Truths are not the same!!
You believe in your Book and I believe in mine. He believes in his. This is one major cause of bitter strife and struggle in the world today.
I and MINE : If there are some statements in your book, which are obviously contrary to well known, abundantly and conclusively proven facts – then what? You are still afraid of talking about them, for fear of going against majority opinion. So are the others. Most of the time, we become emotionally committed to every thing that is in our particular books – and want to rub them on all others too.
I and Mine – are two words, to which we are emotionally committed beyond any logical measure.
Whether it is my dress, or my language, or my son, or my state, or my country or my religion, or my prophet, or my religious book - what comes first within “I and Mine” is – a blinding emotional veil of attachment for all of us.
When I take a position on “I” or “Mine”, truth gets ignored. Logic gets ignored. Propriety gets ignored. This is the emotional Make up widely prevailing today.
This is more predominant, when it comes to Religion.
Religion mixes up a lot of things about Life between birth and death with the life before birth and beyond death. Religion speaks a lot of things about the rest of the world, its origin, its end and its various ways.
What to believe and what not to believe – from all of them? And why? What to believe, as faith, has not come uniformly in all parts of the world. Your belief may militate against my belief and that of some others. There may be lots of good things in each religion, but there is not one religion but multiplicity of them, each proclaiming a different truth about the unseen world. About the world which senses and mind can perceive – science can tell us better and with some conclusive or indicative evidence. Science has thus told us many things which are at variance with Religion.
Where a conclusive proof is available – there is no need for belief and Faith.
You don’t have to believe, what you know.
Is there a way of going beyond ordinary sensory experience and extend our perceptions and our experiences to matters beyond sensory experience?
Is there a way of perceiving absolute, unchanging truths that seem to be the back drop of the changing world?
These are the questions – to which the science of yoga is the answer.
Yoga is capable of taking us much beyond ordinary sensory capabilities. It is experimental and experiential throughout and requires little or no further beliefs and proofs. It is neither hypnotic nor hallucinatory. Every practitioner experiences yoga with all of his awareness – in fact a heightened awareness of the rarest kind. It is an inner journey of the Individual, to discover the answer to the eternal question – “who am I?”
You and I do not need to BELIEVE either Patanjali, or Lord Krishna or Maharshi Vasishta, the three famous exponents of Yoga known to us – apart from Lord Siva. You don’t need to believe any one at all. Do what they say – but, preferably under a trained Guru. You will experiment and experience lots of things in Yoga, when you practice it systematically. You will KNOW, and then, you don’t have to BELIEVE. Belief is always of the unknown.
For KNOWN facts, no further belief is required.
The One Book Authored By Almighty : In one of the first Posts in this blog, we have seen that the best book one must read and understand is “your own self”. This one book is certainly and definitely authored by the Almighty himself. This doesn’t require further proof. You are the creation of the almighty. He has posited all his secrets in this one book, called YOU. About other books, however holy, there is no such authenticity. You can unravel all these secrets posited in you (the holiest book available to you) through the practice of the science of yoga.
What is the use of trying to discover the whole world (which is never possible any way) when we do not even know our own self? In the discovery of answer to this eternal question on the Self, lies answers to all other questions that one may have.
Yoga has absolutely nothing to do with any organized religion or its ritualistic practices. A yoga practitioner discovers the hollowness of all religions in the discovery of himself.
The Originator of Yoga: Lord Siva is generally called the Adi Guru of Yoga, who passed on the science of yoga, to the humanity, through his teachings to his consort and to the ancient sages. Lord Krishna says in Gita that he passed on the science of Yoga first to Vivaswata and through him to others.
In fact, the great Trimurthis (Siva, Vishnu and Brahma) are all masters of Yoga. They are depicted as Yogeeswara, Yogeswara and yoga Brahma (respectively) meaning that they are the greatest masters of Yoga.
Many sages have enunciated the principles of the science of Yoga and meditation thus received by them, in many ancient, scientific texts like Yoga Vasishta, Pathanjali’s Yoga Sasthra and so on. They are not the originators and they don’t claim to be so.
But then, you don’t need to believe an iota about Siva, Vishnu or Brahma – to practice Yoga. Yoga is a one hundred percent practical science.
Being a great theoretician, without being a practitioner, of Yoga is absolute nonsense. I am not the one to use such expressions for any purpose but – if there is any thing at all in the whole universe which can be called nonsense, it is this – being a great theoretician and not a practitioner of Yoga. The point to make is Yoga is a one hundred percent practical science. You must practice and experience it all the way.
But, of course, once you are a practitioner, you will automatically know that some of the future steps (like Samadhi) are just as concrete as Dharana, Dhyana etc and you know you are seeing the goal post of Samadhi even when you are still at Dhyana stage.
Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sasthra:
The best exponent of Yoga to humanity in general, is Lord Krishna himself through his Bhagavad Gita.
The last verse of Bhagavad Gita says – where the Yogeswara Krishna and the Gaandeeva bow holder,Arjuna stand, there, wealth and Victory are certain. There, righteousness always prevails.”
This has deep significance. Where Yogeswara Krishna stands – there Yoga stands. This means that, there, man is in complete union with his self. Whether he is a Karma Yogi, Dhyana Yogi, Jnana Yogi or Bhakthi yogi , he remains in union with his self. And in the self, stands Lord Krishna himself.
The Gaandeeva Bow is of divine origin. This again is symbolic. Divine instrument or causality is always there in your fight for righteousness and in your fight against your weaknesses.
Arjuna, the holder of Gaandeeva Bow is the companion, friend and disciple of Lord Krishna. Arjuna has always stood for Dharma (righteousness) and for wiping out Adharma. Where Arjuna, who is the steadfast disciple of yogeswara Krishna and where Krishna, the Yogeswara stand, there yoga or union with self prevails. There, righteousness prevails.
The whole of Mahabharat war has so many symbolic representations. Lord Krishna never fights in the war but remains the charioteer of his best disciple. If you are his disciple, he becomes your charioteer too and takes you to victory. This is the symbolism and significance.
He doesn’t have to fight the war himself. His will, his Sankalapa, gets accomplished, whichever way he wants it.
You and I, to start with, need not accept Lord Krishna as God, Almighty etc. But, Accept him as Guru. Become his Disciple. That we must. If at some stage of practice you know more about his Divinity, wonderful. If not, it is still wonderful.
In the coming posts, we will examine a unique chapter of Bhagavad Gita in some detail, with a bit of introduction to three related chapters of Gita. After studying these details , we will find, that the science of Meditation was very ancient and there are aspects of it, which are not readily understood until one advances in Yoga some distance. It is practice all the way; It is experience all the way.
It is bliss all the way !
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