Let us THINK : By Dr.King (Author of books on Yoga,Spirituality,Gardening...)
Summary: This is a regular weekly podcast on topics relating to Yoga, Meditation,Spirituality and many stimulating thoughts.
[Quick links] [Pause] In the previous episode we saw how the ancient Samkhya philosophers put forward their claims. In one stroke they make the idea of Brahma or God totally irrelevant. Apparently, they can explain ‘everything’ without taking recourse to any mystical entity called God! How does the Brahma supporters take on this onslaught of the opponent?
[Quick links] [Pause] We were talking about the debates between rival Indian groups about their ideas on Brahma or God. While we discuss these things, we should keep in mind that we are talking about a time period when many of the major world religions of today did not even exist. When even the concept of God was not a matter of mere faith but something that had to pass through the rigors of logic and reasoning. The people in those times too had their scriptures, but they did not accept anything with closed eyes. They questioned everything, even the God!
[Quick links] [Pause] Once there were 5 blind men. They wanted to ‘see’ how an elephant looks like. Being blind they obviously cannot ‘see’ the elephant. But they were inquisitive and they went on their expedition. After ‘seeing’ the elephant one by one, they gathered in a place to exchange notes on their elephantine experience.
[Quick links] [Pause] In many faith-based religions, this question does not arise at all. It could even be a forbidden question to ask. It is sacrilegious to question the existence of God. Acceptance of God is the most basic prerequisite. There is no religion if there is no God. But not so in ancient India. India had a completely open system where anyone was free to question anything including God.
[Quick links] [Pause] Several years ago, I was part of a large institution. This institution used to organize frequent lectures by eminent scholars in various fields. The Head of this institution used to invite me to attend to all these lectures. The funny thing was that the topics of most of these talks were not directly connected with my field of expertise nor something that was of my interest. That used to puzzle me.
[Quick links] [Pause] Each one of us has our own idea of what our goal is. One goal that many Yoga enthusiasts have is to enjoy health. To achieve that goal, they ‘twist and turn’ their bodies with the hope of making the body stronger and resistant to illnesses. They may practice breathing exercises of Yoga to minimize their stress. Since stress is linked to our proneness to illness, they hope to achieve healthy life using these techniques. There are others who may long for the bliss experienced by meditation. They indulge in regular meditation and enjoy the bliss that results from a tranquil mind. There may be some advanced Yoga practitioners who aim at realizing the ultimate truth. That realization may bestow them eternal peace. A Buddhist may slog to free himself from the endless cycle of births and deaths. Prolonged meditation may enable him to achieve that. But have you observed something common in all these goals?
[Quick links] [Pause] In the last episode we looked at various things Yoga can achieve. Depending on where you are and where you want to go, you can stop at any intermediate goal. But the real target of Yoga is ultimate realization – the realization of the ultimate truth about this existence – existence as a totality. What this ultimate realization is, is explained in the ancient Upanishads, believed to have been recorded 5000 years ago. The sages who recorded these Upanishads arrived at this ultimate truth after prolonged meditation or practice of Yoga.
[Quick links] [Pause] Depending on what state you are in, and what your expectations are, the goals of Yoga can be different.
[Quick links] [Pause] With no offense meant, this is an important question. Buddha himself once faced this question and he handled it in his own way.
[Quick links] [Pause] I am happy to announce the release of my 22nd book namely “The ultimate book on Yoga”. This also happens to be my 5th book on Yoga. I have been working on this book for quite some time.
[Quick links] [Pause] We concluded the previous episode by questioning the Kaivalya concept of Patanjali.
[Quick links] [Pause] If you have ever done a bit of gardening, you very well know how difficult it is to keep the weeds at bay. No matter how many times you pluck them out, they regrow once again. That is because these weeds leave back their seeds before you pluck them out. And these seeds sprout back into new weeds at proper times. So, you will forever face the menace of these weeds. One way is to carefully eliminate the seeds one by one so that there is nothing left to germinate. But that is a difficult proposition. Now-a-days we have several chemical sprays that render these seeds ineffective. They literally burn out these seeds. And burnt seeds don’t germinate. Patanjali says that our mental impressions that delude us are like the seeds left behind by our past Karma. They re-germinate however much we try to suppress them. We have to somehow get rid of these seeds or render them ineffective.
[Quick links] [Pause] We were talking about the preset impressions that all of us are born with. Patanjali calls it Avidya or wrong knowledge. How does this Avidya cause problems?
[Quick links] [Pause] We concluded our previous episode by wondering why we cannot remain in an ever-blissful state even after we attain the ‘self-realization’ through the practice of Yoga. The ultimate state of Yoga namely the ‘Samadhi’ is supposed to take us back to our real state – namely a blissful state. But when we come out of this Samadhi, we once again get trapped into a mix of happy and sad states of mind. Why?
[Quick links] [Pause] It was mandatory in many ancient Indian scriptures or philosophic texts to spell out the ultimate purpose of whatever was going to be espoused in the text before starting the discussion . So, does Yoga have any practical utility? Well, I am not talking about byproducts of Yoga such as health benefits, stress reduction and so on. I am talking about the utility of reaching the ultimate state of Yoga namely the Samadhi. Does it have any utility?