Why do Yoga?


#21

Yes, a purely materialist interpretation, but has got nothing to do with Samkhya view of Jnana. In Samkhya Jnana is a personal and psychological process one does whereby they gain discriminative knowledge between the manifest, unmanifest and the cognizer. Yoga is simply the execution of that.

The need to develop technology to reduce hardship in our daily life is not a Samkhya view, but a Nyaya-Vaiseshika view(the empiricism school) Samkhya is not interested in developing technology in improving our life in the world, it makes its aim very clear: final liberation of consciousness from the cycle of birth, death and transmigration.

Of course in this world we can never completely and permanently eliminate suffering. Samkhya teaches that even in higher worlds there is suffering. So the only way to permanently eliminate it is through freedom from material nature which comes about through discriminative knowledge of manifest, unmanifest (prakriti), and the knowing one (purusa). Yoga clarifies the process further through the descriptions of the various stages of samadhi that one must pass through before he/she reaches the highest levels of discriminative knowledge.

Yep, that is true. Samkhya makes it clear that until this discriminative knowledge does not dawn one cannot achieve liberation from pain. Liberation from the pain is exactly the reason Samkhya states for the need to develop discriminative knowledge(Karika 1)

Some might see a contradiction between what I’ve said here and what I said earlier, but there is a difference between seeking to escape suffering and seeking to eliminate it through knowledge. The former is a weakness, the latter is a lofty goal.

Then you must conclude that Samkhya is weak, because it makes it purpose very clear in Karika 1 that the need to develop discriminative knowledge is to cure all three kinds of pain(physical, mental and spiritual) It does not say discriminative knowledge for its own sake should be developed.

It says absolutely nothing about us working on the liberation of others, and I defy you to find me a single sutra in the Karika that says that. The reason that we don’t need to work for the liberation of others, is because in Samkhya that function is done by matter(prakriti) itself. Every witness is on their own journey and nature is working for each one individually, producing the experiences that they need for their final liberation. Thus in Samkhya ones spirituality is purely an individual affair, not a group one.

This is why Yogis historically have remained aloof and only worked on their own liberation. Buddha saw this as a fault in Samkhya Yoga, and hence prescribed the practice of universal compassion and set up monasteries etc to teach Buddhist Yoga(in the form of his 8-fold noble path) to the masses, including women and children. Prior to him, the interests of the masses were not very important to yogis. Hence why all Yoga practice was esoteric and only available to Sanskrit speaking individuals.


#22

[QUOTE=Asuri;71992]First of all, my interpretation of the yoga sutras has nothing to do with Christianity. This is pure bigotry on the part of Surya.[/QUOTE]

It indeed has. I have already read your posts on Samkhya over 2 years and you have had at many points interpreted Samkhya-Yoga in terms of Christian dualism(total opposite of Samkhya dualism) of Descartes and Christian doctrines. Your peculiar interpretation that Patanjali does not mean the total cessation of all vrittis is a Christian apologetic response to Yoga where Yoga is often criticized by Christians as a practice that empties the mind and thus leaves one vulnerable to demonic possession etc. You are trying to remain loyal to Christianity, while maintaining your interest in Yoga, by softening the Yoga approach by arguing , “No, actually this is a misinterpretation, Yoga is not about emptying the contents of the mind, but only removing negative contents” In actual fact Yoga does actually call for total emptying, including positive contents!

The other way you distort Yoga to fit into your Christianized interpretation is by replacing the Yogic concept of god(Ishvara) with the Christian concept of god. You try to maintain the strict dualism between man, god and world as found in Christian doctrine, but ignore the fact that the Yogic god is not actually dual, but refers to inner pure consciousness that abides in all of us. You deliberately distort the meaning of sutras to fit this Christian doctrine,

Yet another way you try to make Yoga fit into Christianity is by denying Samkhya and Yoga are Vedic philosophies. You try to make it look like they anti-Vedic philosophies. This is of course is completely absurd, as Samkhya and Yoga very clearly acknowledge their root in the Vedas. By denying their Vedic roots it is easier for you to feel more comfortable about having an interest in a practice and theory that you see comes from another religion.

Thus I have to caution all readers that Asuri interpretations of Samkhya and Yoga is biassed, distorted and twisted to make it fit in with Christian doctrine. It is not reliable and it is definitely not supported by scholars of Samkhya-Yoga.


#23

Since Surya Deva has announced that my interpretation has been thoroughly defeated (as he usually does), I guess I have to respond to that. Let’s be clear that the difference of opinion is concerning the meaning of the word nirodha, as it is used in sutra 1.2. I’ve stated in the past that I lean toward nirodha as restriction or restraint rather than cessation.

I will say at the outset that nirodha is a [I]practice[/I], an act of will. So as long as one is practicing nirodha there is at least one vrtti remaining and total cessation has not occurred. That is enough to end the debate right there, but I’ll continue. One of the reasons I don’t like the word cessation is that it implies finality. The vrttis stop completely and don’t start again. There is no dispute that in order to achieve final liberation total cessation has to occur, but as discussed above, that is only at the very highest level and is completely irrelevant to the vast majority of practitioners.

The definition of yoga includes two types of samadhi, samprajnata (sam = with, prajna = knowledge) and asamprajnata (a = not). Especially in samprajnata samadhi, there is an object of meditation, and there can be mental activity that arises in connection with the object of meditation. In this type of samadhi, nirodha is not cessation, it is restraint. The vrttis have ‘dwindled’, not ceased. The mind becomes one-pointed but mental activity does not stop. This is a valid and necessary form of yoga, which is useful, valuable, and relevant to all practitioners. In their rush to be the highest yogis, the would-be gurus tend to overlook this.

I believe I’m still standing on a firm foundation.


#24

@post #22

Just look at my posts in this thread. You will find no reference to Christianity or Christian beliefs in any of my arguments. By putting words in my mouth, misrepresenting what I say, and putting his bigotry on display, Surya Deva diminishes his own stature, not mine.


#25

@post #21

You should look again at your own Samkhya-Karika. The ‘superior method’ described there clearly includes knowledge of [I]vyakta[/I], the manifest. If you choose to ignore this and instead pursue your ‘liberation’, you do so at your own peril.


#26

[QUOTE=yaram;71977]First of all, thank you for such detailed information.

I have a question: Is it really necessary to understand Yoga Sutras/ Samkhya philosophy to really practice Yoga? To me, it looks like they are necessary if one wants to become a “guru” or want to structure a course on Yoga. Something like, does one need to know the details of mechanical engineering and car design to drive a car???[/QUOTE]

It depends on what kind of practice you do. If you’re just into asanas and maybe some pranayama, no you don’t really need to understand Samkhya-Yoga for that. If you’re interested in the inner practices, then yes you need to start learning some of the things that are contained in the Yoga Sutras, and in order to really understand the sutras, you need to know some of the basics of Samkhya.


#27

First of all, thank you for such detailed information.

To me, Patanjali’s Yoga sutras are much more advanced than the modern psychology. The issue for me is little understanding about them and lack of time.
The way, things like Yoga sutras/ Bhasyas are written is that they normally are de-linked from religion/branding/marketing/bias.

In fact, most of so called “self-help” best sellers and things like CBT/NLP are modifications/rehashing of works done by sages. (Yeah, there were no copyrights and patents in those days…!!)

Yes, I absolutely agree. Patanjali’s Yoga sutras is definitely the most advanced text we have on psychology because it combines many modern approaches like CBT and Psychodynamic theory and practices, and gives a far more comprehensive and exhaustive description of the science of mind and behaviour. Patanjali’s scientific method is also more superior to these approaches, because while they rely on hypothetical reasoning, Patanjali relies on mental phenomenology. I mean what can be a better way of trying to find out how the mind works than simply just watching it? By the practice of meditation all levels of mind can be watched, so we can see what is really happening, than just theorizing about it.

Single-handedly, Patanjali is the greatest psychologist that has ever lived. He is not just a master scientist of psychology, but also a master meditator, and has reached the highest stages of meditation. All psychologists should definitely read Patanjali for inspiration and answers. All aspiring mediators/yogis should definitely read Patanjali for coaching, tips, advice and his wisdom.

I also agree with you a lot of modern psychology is just rehashed work done by Patanjali and other major yogic psychologists(especially Buddhists) All pioneering modern psychologists were well-read in Yoga, and some very clearly mention Yoga as their inspiration(Jung etc) However, nobody can stop them from doing that, because Yoga cannot be copyrighted as it is public knowledge.

For the people who are suffering from depression, yes…Yoga can be a cure. Yoga’s purpose can be some high-level liberation, but it also deals with low-level problems.

I have a question: Is it really necessary to understand Yoga Sutras/ Samkhya philosophy to really practice Yoga? To me, it looks like they are necessary if one wants to become a “guru” or want to structure a course on Yoga. Something like, does one need to know the details of mechanical engineering and car design to drive a car???

Yes, Yoga can definitely be used as a main psychotherapy tool or in conjunction with other psychotherapies to treat depression. It can definitely deal with lower level problems as well, in fact all kinds of disease. These are simply benefits of Yoga practice, but the final aim of Yoga is indeed liberation. If one loses sight of liberation when practicing Yoga and satisfies themselves with short term benefits, then they can set themselves up for remission of previous problems. Here is a list of obstacles Patanjali gives that one encounters in their Yoga practice:

1.30 Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.

1.31 From these obstacles, there are four other consequences that also arise, and these are: 1) mental or physical pain, 2) sadness or dejection, 3) restlessness, shakiness, or anxiety, and 4) irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.
(duhkha daurmanasya angam-ejayatva shvasa prashvasah vikshepa sahabhuva)

In other words these many obstacles can hamper ones Yoga practice. In the long term this can lead to regression rather than progression. If ones Yoga practice weakens for any other reason any gains made can be lost. In fact it is said in Yoga that if ones practice breaks at the higher levels, ones fall will be even harder. Thus the solution Patanjali gives to this is to keep a single, focused and dedicated practice:

1.32 To prevent or deal with these nine obstacles and their four consequences, the recommendation is to make the mind one-pointed, training it how to focus on a single principle or object.
(tat pratisedha artham eka tattva abhyasah)

Essentially, Yoga is basically mental training to help the mind achieve higher concentration power. As concentration power enables us to reach the states of samadhi. A successful yogis mind is only different from an ordinary mind because it is capable of higher concentration(one pointedness) Thus the yogis mind is highly coherent, composed, still and calm, less prone to afflictions like fear, anger, lust, pride etc. This in turn reflects in their high character. A mind like this is capable of doing any task with expert proficiency, learn anything or master any craft.

Patanjali’s Asthanga Kriya Yoga is simply the best type of lifestyle practice that trains the mind to achieve the highest level of concentration. Other practices Patanjali gives like opposite-thinking(pratipaksha bhavana) to counteract negative thoughts(like CBT) detachment(vairgaya) are also very useful practices to facilitate this.

have a question: Is it really necessary to understand Yoga Sutras/ Samkhya philosophy to really practice Yoga? To me, it looks like they are necessary if one wants to become a “guru” or want to structure a course on Yoga. Something like, does one need to know the details of mechanical engineering and car design to drive a car???

It is necessary to have clearly defined goals in any practice you start. If that practice is driving then the final goal of that practice is to be able to drive competently. There will be also smaller middle goals like clutch control, steering, passing your theory exam. Anything short of being able to drive competently is obviously not satisfactory and will lead to a failed practice. If we content ourselves with only mastering clutch control, but do not master steering, our driving practice will fail.

In Yoga the goal is the highest goal of life and that is achieving the highest samadhi where consciousness is completely liberated and one becomes a fully realized and enlightened being. There are smaller middle goals like internalizing the yamas and niyamas; achieving correct posture and breathing; achieving pratyhara, achieving the lower samadhis. Anything short of achieving the final goal in Yoga will result in a failed practice. In Yogic terms that means more birth and death. Previous gains can easily be lost on his path and regression is also possible. If we only content ourselves with mastering posture, after we have done so, posture problems may return again.

Thus knowing WHY exactly you are doing Yoga is definitely important. As I said in the OP it makes the difference between a successful and failed practice. The mechanism of Yoga is basically to have a one-pointed mind, thus by constantly practicing we develop a momentum that perpetuates itself and finally takes us to the final goal. If we have any breaks in our practice it will simply contradict our practice. Many people who do not understand the WHY will indeed have regular breaks in their practice, and this is why their practices will invariably fail, it may even lead to complications like Patanjali suggests: instability, anxiety, breathing problems.

The other reason understanding the theory of Samkhya is important is because of DOUBT. Patanjali mentions this as one the first few out of the 9 obstacles that can seriously contravene your practice. If one actually has any doubt that they cannot achieve liberation/the highest samadhi for whatever reason, this will prevent progress in Yoga. If there is doubt about the validity of any of the theories in Samkhya of the existence of a pure consciousness or self, that misidentification needs to take place to liberate consciousness from the world, that the body, mind, intellect etc are not the self, and that all sensory experiences are ultimately full of pain, then ones practice will fail.

Patanjali actually says that Shradda is very important in Yoga, it is like the fuel the car needs before its engines can run. It is often translated as ‘faith’ but it actually means having total conviction and being completely resolute and steadfast. Unshakable. If that is not there when starting Yoga, doubt will remain and it will sabotage our practice.

If we begin Yoga by believing that its theory Samkhya is just another philosophy, a belief system or nonsense, our practice is doomed to failure. We must accept all the conclusions of Samkhya, before we can begin Yoga practice. Prior to that intellectual realization taking place, it is futile starting Yoga practice.


#28

I will say at the outset that nirodha is a practice, an act of will. So as long as one is practicing nirodha there is at least one vrtti remaining and total cessation has not occurred. That is enough to end the debate right there, but I’ll continue.

Nirodha is not a practice, but rather is the process of letting go of a vritti when the identification with it is removed. As consciousness lets goes of every vritti through sustained practice of non-attachment(vairgaya) achieved through the master practice of Patanjali’s Kriya Yoga eventually even the concept of a practictione is dissolved when one achieves objectless samadhi, where the subject-object duality completely disappears, leaving only the reality of pure consciousness. As has already been made clear to you Nirodha is a passive verb, not an active verb. No activity like controlling, restraining and regulation is involved. The only active part of Yoga is the Kriya Yoga we have to do to at the start to create the conditions that will allow Nirodha to take place.

All Yoga experts agree that meditation is not something that we do, it is something that happens when we create the conditions for it to happen. Yoga is a PASSIVE process. The practice of Kriya Yoga is an ACTIVE process. It is when one starts the active process of Kriya Yoga that the passive process of Yoga begins.

One of the reasons I don’t like the word cessation is that it implies finality. The vrttis stop completely and don’t start again. There is no dispute that in order to achieve final liberation total cessation has to occur, but as discussed above, that is only at the very highest level and is completely irrelevant to the vast majority of practitioners.

Yoga is about the final goal, not any intermediate goal. It makes no difference whether you like it or not, but you should not be changing words simply because you don’t like it. This is why I have always maintained you are dishonest. It very explicitly states Yoga is about the final goal revealing the pure consciousness by bringing the minds activities to a halt.

Even the higher attainments(siddhis etc) before the final goal of liberation Patanjali says to witness, set aside and continue on. Patanjali is not interested in any short term goals, but the actual ultimate goal itself. If you think that this does not apply to you, then you got another thing coming from Patanjali :wink: Your practice is doomed to failure if your goal is not the actual goal of Yoga. If your goal is physical fitness, then you are better served by Pilates, aerobics, swimming or weight training. If your goal is weight loss, then you are better served by dieting. If your goal is fighting disease, then are better served by medicine. If Yoga could fight all diseases, there would be no need for the sister science of Ayurveda in India. There are far better ways to get physically fit, lose weight, and fight disease than Yoga. Yoga is not designed to reach these goals, and yogis have never really been renown for their strength, the aesthetic of their body or their waistline.

The definition of yoga includes two types of samadhi, samprajnata (sam = with, prajna = knowledge) and asamprajnata (a = not). Especially in samprajnata samadhi, there is an object of meditation, and there can be mental activity that arises in connection with the object of meditation. In this type of samadhi, nirodha is not cessation, it is restraint. The vrttis have ‘dwindled’, not ceased.

Well as Patanjali never actually calls this Nirodha, you have no argument. If a vritti is still active, even if very slightly, one still has not achieved Nirodha of that vritti. This is why Patanjali mentions the various states vrittis exist in and how they can finally be dissolved.

I believe I’m still standing on a firm foundation.

Well, at least you are now admitting that Patanajli does actually say only total cessation of all the vrittis will lead to the final goal of liberation. As this is the correct view and at least you are not distorting it. As for your personal opinion that lower goals of Yoga are admissible for most practitioners of Yoga not interested in final liberation, you are entitled to that, just don’t present it as fact, as Patanjali clearly does not agree that Yoga is anything short of final liberation.

You should look again at your own Samkhya-Karika. The ‘superior method’ described there clearly includes knowledge of vyakta, the manifest. If you choose to ignore this and instead pursue your ‘liberation’, you do so at your own peril.

This is not the kind of knowledge of physics that you are alluding to. Samkhya is not interested in this kind of knowledge. It is interested in intellectual knowledge that one develops for oneself through practicing inquiry into the difference between the manifest, the unmanifest and the knower. It does not say you must know everything about the manifest - but rather you must know the differences between the manifest, the unmanifest and the knower to realize that you consciousness are completely distinct from it. When that intellectual realization comes one realizes, “Nothing is mine, nothing is I, there is no agent/or doer” and one realizes that one is simply a pure witness. Then one simply witnesses the manifest world, and starts to reverse their misidentification with it.

Read the Karika and read the sutras I have cited before that is exactly what they say. If Yogis were interested in physical knowledge they would have been the first to build particle accelerators. They clearly are not interested in these superflous details like how many types of atoms matter is made of, what is the velocity of electrons, what is the probability of an electron appearing at position t. This is strictly a Western philosophical pursuit. All Samkhya-Yogis are interested in is knowing the difference between consciousness and matter to achieve final liberation.

The closest school of Indian philosophy to Western empirical schools is Nyaya-Vaiseshika, but even for them the need to know detailed physical knowledge is not important. Their aim is to know enough about the physical world to help one live a live in tune with the laws of nature to bring about ones final liberation. This is the reason why Indian civilization, despite having a highly enlightened and intellectual culture long before the West had the enlightenment in modern times, never developed an empirical-technological tradition of the same caliber.


#29

I sincerely hope you achieve your liberation [I]SOON[/I]. Unfortunately I’m not that lucky. You’ll still be rambling on about how smart you think you are sixty years from now. The modern world validates the materialist interpretation. A so-called yogi obsessed with his own liberation is of no value to anyone.


#30

Thanks :wink:

Well, I am smart and intelligent relative to many people. I have no problem admitting my own strengths, because we have to do that in the world anyway in interviews or in conversations. I am easily the most well-read member on this forum on the subject of philosophy, especially Indian philosophy from a scholarly perspective. I have some excellent insights into Samkhya and Yoga in particular and thus am in a position to advise and answer questions on them.

You clearly are jealous of me, because you constantly bring up my “smartness” But that is your problem and not mine. I certainly have no problem with people on this forum who have better knowledge of Hatha-Yoga than me, or better knowledge of psychology, physics, chemistry or biology than me. I certainly do not jump into every thread started by them and challenge their knowledge, as you do with me.

As for my own spiritual journey and when I reach liberation, that is my personal matter.


#31

You made yourself my enemy here. Did you think I would not fight back?


#32

A so-called yogi obsessed with his own liberation is of no value to anyone.

A yogi is not suppose to be of value to anybody else. Again I defy you to find me a single sutra either in the Karika or in the Yoga sutras where it says that one must be of value to another person or must help them attain liberation too.

Having said that, a Yogi is definitely a person of higher character than an ordinary person and sets the highest example for others simply through their own way of being. By the practice of Yamas and Niyamas, a Yogi does not harm anybody with their thoughts, words or actions; they do not steal from or exploit anybody, never incur anybodies debt, they always speak truth to everybody and do not try to deceive or cheat people. They do not amass any unnecessary wealth and share what they don’t need with other who need them. They keep their body and mind clean, always maintain their humility to their higher self, constantly introspect themselves and purify their habits, and always keep themselves energized to practice.

A yogi is therefore the perfect human and therefore they are of immense value to everyone.


#33

What do you think that you have accomplished with this fairy tale?


#34

[QUOTE=Surya Deva;71993]Again Sarva the dogmatic and irrational statements you express here is why i no longer identify as a Hindu. Hindus trivialize the great wisdom tradition we have inherited from the Vedas where our ancient scientists Risis made did a lot of work in exploring mind, consciousness and behaviour, the direct result of which was the scientific Samkhya-Yoga system as a practical method to purify our mind and character and attain self-realization. You trivialize this this by trying to force this great scientific-spiritual Vedic culture into a religion worshiping Indian gods and goddesses and performing outdated rituals.[/quote]There is nothing scientific about transpersonal voodoo and para psychology. You have been reading too much nonsense from the likes of Ken Wilber and this would only make you a big joke in the scientific community.

For you Sarva being Hindu is nothing more than a badge of national pride so you can differentiate yourself from other religions.
You are spouting nonsense about me, I have never even been to India and you call me an Indian nationalist. In another forum you did the same and called a German gentleman a dravidian nationalist.

The irony is Hinduism has never ever existed as a religion in India. There was no Hinduism in India prior to the 18th century. No such religion ever existed. So it is you who are reducing your great scientific heritage into an exclusive India-only religion - ironically the nation state of India did not exist either.
You are spouting nonsense again. The shastras mention the landscape of India as Bharata in many places, but this is again completely off topic and you are just trying to avoid admitting that you are [U]a reductionist of the first kind[/U] trying to reduce the entire tradition of Sanatana Dharma to (pop) psychology and philosophy.

The thing is because Samkhya-Yoga is scientific, its truths are universal and are being rediscovered by modern scientists, sometimes without having any direction knowledge of the Vedas. This seems to really piss you off.
No, it doesn’t piss me off that truths from Hinduism are rediscovered by science, but like I said before, I don’t consider transpersonal voodoo psychology to be scientific.


#35

Here are my 2 cents:

  1. “Scientific” (the real meaning):
    Well, what is scientific? Does the western science has ever applied itself to anything that is not “matter and mind”? The means and ways of scientific proof/validity can not be applied to spiritual things. One needs to change the definition of “science” to apply the same to spirituality. As of now, science is one which is confined itself to matter and may be mind. Well, at least in recent times, there are people who admit the limitation of science when it comes to “spiritual” things. There is a lot of progress to be made.At present, “science” and “spirituality” are at opposite ends.

…trivialize this this by trying to force this great scientific-spiritual Vedic culture into a religion worshiping Indian gods and goddesses and performing outdated rituals.

That is one opinion…!! However, there is nothing wrong in worshiping gods perform rituals. I can quote my own example of getting out of delusions, with idol worship of Hindu Gods.

  1. Arguments/Views are getting personal and labeling as “X” or “Y” based on views expressed is against the spirit of Yoga. After all, Yoga is all about non-identification.

#36

Sarva’s views should not be taken seriously that Yoga is his Hindu religion, because they are basically religious and nationalist dogma. Nobody takes this view seriously now days because Yoga has been found to have scientific merit outside of the religion of Hinduism. Again, many of the psychotherpaies and techniques we use today are very similar to Yoga, and some are directly inspired by it.

Sarva, like many religious people today share, is of the opinion that a complete divide must exist between science and religion. Where science deals with the world of matter using the scientific method, and religion with the world of mind based on faith. This kind of attitude is actually a very Western one and was first officially institutionalized by Descartes(known as Cartesian dualism and the Cartesian split) Descartes was a natural philosopher and mathematician, but at the same time he was a deeply religious Christian too. In his time the Church considered Descartes interests to be anti-Christian, as the Church had a problem with science. So Descartes brokered a deal with the Church that science did not threaten the authority of the Church(religion) because it dealt with only matter and could only ever deal with matter, leaving the mind for the Church.

But scientists and philosophers never really accepted Descartes dualism. It was clear to them that mind and matter could not be separated, because they always worked in conjunction with one another, interacted etc. The dualism of Descartes did not work. Scientists were convinced that one day they would be able to even study the mind. And that is exactly what happened in the 19th century, with the advent of psychology. Ironically, enough, the first philosophers and scientists of psychology were heavily inspired by Yoga and Buddhism. Arthur Schopenhauer is the first modern philosopher of psychology, and he was heavily impressed with the Upanishads and Yoga. He directly influenced Freud and Jung.

Anyway the Cartesian myth has been long dead. Today psychology is a fully established and fully fledged science. We know today the mind, behaviour can indeed be studied, predicted and manipulated, and we know the mind is basically like an instrument. More advanced studies today in neuroscience has more or less lead to conclusive evidence that the mind is basically a material process. There is no divide between mind and matter.

What is ironic here is Sarva, a self confessed Hindu is latching onto Cartesian dualism and Western philosophical attitudes to science, rather than looking at his own native philosophical attitudes to science. In Indian philosophical traditions there has never existed any divide between science and religion, and matter and mind. Mind has always been treated like matter, something which can be studied like any matter.

It is clear if one reads the Samkhya Karika I cited that mind is considered as much matter, as chairs or tables. Samkhya dualism is not between mind and matter, but matter and consciousness. The Karika presents a total of 10 logical arguments to show that matter and consciousness are irreducible to one another. Indeed, the irreducibility of consciousness and matter is now a problem in 21st century Western philosophy as well, known as the hard problem of consciousness. It is in fact an impossible problem.

The unique feature of the Vedic tradition is that it took a scientific attitude to the moral and ethical problems of humans. In other ancient cultures, we do not find the same scientific approach, but a faith based approach like the Christian one. The Vedic tradition believed that moral and ethical problems of humans can be scientifically examined and understood to produce sure-fire ways of solving them: the result is the Samkhya-Yoga system. The modern attitude is more Vedic than it is Christian. We do believe today that moral and ethical problems of humans can be studied as a science, hence why we have so many soft sciences like psychology, sociology, business management.


#37

You can talk about unrelated matters as much as you want and put as many words in my mouth that I have never said, but that doesn’t change the fact that yoga is not psychology, but a religious practice with religious objectives. I have better things to do than to respond to your strawman argumentations, I have never said I support cartesian dualism or that psychology is not a science. I said that [B]transpersonal[/B] voodoo psychology is not scientific, but apparently you have difficulty reading what has been said by me or other people on the forum.


#38

You do not have to to mention Cartesian dualism or know anything about Cartesian dualism, for me to know that the attitude in your post where you are strictly dividing science and religion comes from that. This is a Western attitude, and its history goes back to Descartes.

In fact what is ironic your entire interpretation of Hinduism, Indian identity and Yoga practice is a Western and based on modern Western ideas. You interpret Hinduism as a “religion” that is a Western classification. You interpret India as a country. That is a Western classification based on the modern idea of nation states. You talk of Hinduism as your faith. That is yet another Western idea. This is what I find hilarious about so-called Hindu nationalism. There is nothing indigenous or native in the political ideology of Hindu nationalism. It is entirely based on Western philosophy.


I am drawing a separating line to actually tell you what your native tradition says, because you obviously interpret your native tradition through the Western prism.

The philosophy of science in the Indian tradition has NEVER EVER considered science and religion separate. The proof of this is that objective sciences like mathematics, grammar, medicine, engineering, prosody and the 16 arts and crafts are called apara vidya: normal sciences; and subjective sciences like Yoga, Samkhya and Vedanta are called para-vidya: higher sciences. But both are called sciences.

In the Indian tradition even the soul and god is considered a subject of scientific study. Hence why such sciences are called Brahma vidya or Atman Vidya.

This is why the Vedic culture is a scientific culture. It believed everything can be studied scientifically, including the subject of god and soul. Therefore no distinction has ever been made between science and religion in India. The word for science in India is simultaneously a word for scripture: Vidya, Shastra. This is why Vedic culture is santana dharma because it based on science. The truths of science are universal.

Your interpretation of the great Vedic tradition as a religion is definitely not shared in the Indian tradition. Most modern yogis coming from India also do not share this interpretation either. Most learned people you talk to consider Hinduism more a philosophy or a culture, than some organized religion. It is only modern Hindus that have trivialized it into one, like yourself. You would rather see Hinduism as the worship of rocks, snakes and monkeys, than for its high philosophy and science.


#39

The philosophy of science in the Indian tradition has NEVER EVER considered science and religion separate. The proof of this is that objective sciences like mathematics, grammar, medicine, engineering, prosody and the 16 arts and crafts are called apara vidya: normal sciences; and subjective sciences like Yoga, Samkhya and Vedanta are called para-vidya: higher sciences. But both are called sciences.

In the Indian tradition even the soul and god is considered a subject of scientific study. Hence why such sciences are called Brahma vidya or Atman Vidya.

Vidya means knowledge, not necessarily scientific knowledge. It also includes revealed knowledge.

In fact what is ironic your entire interpretation of Hinduism, Indian identity and Yoga practice is a Western and based on modern Western ideas. You interpret Hinduism as a “religion” that is a Western classification. You interpret India as a country. That is a Western classification based on the modern idea of nation states.

More nonsense, if you had actually bothered to read a few books before posting your personal fantasies on forums, you would know that the concept of country and states were already present in ancient India.

You talk of Hinduism as your faith. That is yet another Western idea. This is what I find hilarious about so-called Hindu nationalism. There is nothing indigenous or native in the political ideology of Hindu nationalism. It is entirely based on Western philosophy.
Nationalistic ideas was already present in Sanskrit literature long before modern Indian nationalism developed, if you had actually taken the time to study Sanskrit literature you would have known this.

You would rather see Hinduism as the worship of rocks, snakes and monkeys, than for its high philosophy and science.
Again, you are putting words in my mouth. I am very interested in the science and philosophy of Hinduism, but I am not a reductionist like yourself who tries to limit the entire vedic tradition to pop psychology and philosophy.


#40

Returning back to the subject. I have given a brief overview of the history of attitudes in science and the politics of the Cartesian split. Originally, science was called natural philosophy and there was no distinction between science and religion. In fact the original scientists were all Christians, and the aim of science was to reveal god in the working of nature. Then after Descartes an absolute split was created between science and religion, because the Church considered science anti-christian, and scientists who were Christian wanted to justify to the Church that science does not actually contradict Christianity(religion) but only applies to the study of matter and would be beneficial in helping improve our life. The study of mind, on the other hand, was considered strictly a domain of religion.

In this manner the hard sciences of chemistry, biology, medicine and physics were allowed to develop and the Church did not disapprove of them anymore. However, as these sciences were allowed to flourish they increasingly came at odds with the Church, like the discovery of laws of nature(removing the need for god) and the discovery of evolution(challenging creationist theories) and thus many scientists became atheists. Most scientists are in fact atheists. Others left Christianity altogether and opted for Eastern philosophy.

When Western scientists and philosophers came into contact with Eastern philosophy and sciences the science of psychology started to develop. Psychology fought a very hard battle to be recognized as a science, and it is only just today that psychology is now considered a legitimate science. Even today, you find the odd physicist, chemist or biologist snub their nose at psychologists. As the mind is not a hard substance we can examine under a microscope, a lot of psychology is based on theory. However, we have found that psychological theories can be tested under experimental conditions.

Now psychology is not really just one unified science, because there is no single theory of the mind in psychology. Psychology is based on approaches: The common one are Psychodynamic approach, based on the assumption that all behaviour is driven by unconscious activity. In this approach there is Psychoanalysis and transactional analysis. There is the learning approach, based on the assumption that all behaviour is learned and then internally represented. In this approach there is Classical conditioning and CBT.
There is also humanistic psychology which is largely based on existential theories.

If you are a working psychologist you will usually specialize in one approach. Now lets cover Sarva’s voodo transpersonal psychology. It is ironic that Sarva being a Hindu who daily worships statues at his altars and feeds the statues food and milk, would belittle transpersonal psychology as voodo nonsense :smiley: Transpersonal psychology is yet another approach in psychology which is interested in studying the the areas of the human mind and behaviour that are spiritual, religious and mystical. Like all psychological approaches it is based on theories and setting up experiments to study this.

Of course as most scientists are atheists they snub their nose at transpersonal psychology for even daring to study the ‘spiritual’ However, seeing as religion and spirituality is indeed a huge part of the human mind and behaviour, one must ask WHY NOT? How can we have a fully comprehensive science of psychology if we neglect the most important aspect of human psychology? Religion and spirituality. I will leave you to ponder this legitimate question, as I compose my next post on the subject of trans personal psychology.