Perennial Philosophy of Yoga for Modern Man Acharya Girish Jha
Yoga begins the moment human beings wills to break the reign of unconsciousness, ignorance, and falsehood and aspires for excellence in life. There should be zeal to practice and incorporate yoga in life and as a “way of life”. Tantra yoga says,” when you are eaten up by the zeal to practice yoga, you reach to summit of consciousness very fast, that is all-pervading, eternal and dwells within you.” There is the seed of Yoga (as a state of consciousness) much subtler than genes of science always ready to manifest in human life if given the right conditions in life.
Philosophy and Darshan
Yoga philosophy is termed as “Yoga Darshan”. The word “Darshan” means directs perception. Unlike the “Greek word – Philosophia, meaning love of wisdom (“the proper understanding about the nature of reality.”). Darshan is much more than love for wisdom or philosophy as one becomes what one perceives but wisdom always discriminates the reality with unreality. A step further from wisdom is what Darshan declares, experiments, and experiences by Yoga practices. Yoga ( a state of consciousness) and Darshan ( direct perception) means living, moving, and acting in truth, peace, love, wisdom, bliss, and pure awareness at all times in life.
Few of many fundamentals of yoga, that makes science and art of Yoga a perennial philosophy, are:
1.The Essential Nature of Human Being is devoid of all sufferings
“Peace is your essential nature”, my Mentor told me when I went to him and asked him, “How to manage stress”. He further said,” What you are experiencing at present is your superficial nature, entered into life due to ignorance.” “To err is human to forgive divine” (Alexander Pope in 1688-1744) is what defines a human being in the west. ‘Satyam jnanam anantam brahma’ declares Taittiria Upanishad- text of yoga. This means that the ultimate reality that dwells within us is of the nature of Truth, Absolute Knowledge (nondual), and Infinite. “Sivoham” is a very famous phrase that means “ I am the Absolute Existence- Consciousness-Bliss.” We are all of the Nature of Truth, Pure consciousness, Absolute knowledge, eternal love, and bliss. Out of which comes Peace that is also our essential nature.
2. Ignorance is Bliss or Suffering
American proverb “ Ignorance is bliss” is taken very lightly and rather unconsciously to avoid many problems and sufferings in life. If Not knowing is bliss, the homo sapiens were the best on earth. Ignorance is devoid of knowledge and wisdom. Ignorance about one’s essential nature, I-ness, or egoism, attachment, aversion to thought patterns or objects, yearning desire to live without knowing why to live are the main causes of sufferings, stress, problems in human life (Avidyasmitaragadweshaabhininweshaklesha” -Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.3), said the father of Eastern Psychology, Patanjali( codifier of Yoga) in more than 2600 years ago. Yoga not only dissolves ignorance but also awakens one to the reality that dwells within, and brings peace, happiness, and harmony in life. A life devoted to awakening wisdom within and progressive release from ignorance brings continued happiness in personal, professional, social, and spiritual life. Bliss is what the aim of Yoga is by delivering one from all forms of ignorance.
3. We are Human + Being- a micro center of evolution
Human in Human Being is circumference and Being is at the center. The “human” consists of ego, intellect, mind, emotions, life, body, and the material world while “Being” is at the center is eternal. According to yoga texts, the human race evolved out of 8.4 million species. Body and energy(prana) is fully evolved in the human frame. The mind is evolving and there is something yet to evolve. Life evolved out of matter as life was involved in the matter. The mind evolved out of life as it was involved in life. If we accept nature’s evolution, then there is something yet to evolve out of mind in every human being. Yoga evolves this consciously by taking over the entire process of Nature. This “yet to evolve’, yoga calls “Real Self” or Being. What is very important in Yoga is evolving consciously to ultimate to bring to an end all sufferings in life, and to achieve excellence in speech, thought, and action. This eternal philosophy asserts that every human being is eternally pure and good and anyone if follows the path of yoga, can transform his life fully. Ratnakar – a dacoit who lived around 3000 BC, took the path of Yoga and transformed himself into one the greatest masters and author of the book, Ramayana. Balmiki – as he was known after the transformation.
Are you ready to change your life?
The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram wrote, “ To know is good; to live is better and to be is the best” that always inspired me to talk and teach yoga to hundreds of people.
I always come to practice Yoga,” Do you know peace is good?”
“yes”, the prompt response, I get
“If peace is good, then you must be living in peace all the time.”
“oh! No Guruji, how can you live in peace 24X7” students said
“Then peace is not good at all, how can you claim, peace is ….” I made the query.
I further add,” Yoga is to bridge the gap between what you know and how you live?. The moment you start working consciously on how to live in peace 24X7, you not only dissolve stress and sufferings from life but also start living in peace.”
Yoga does not end here as it offers you an opportunity for unlimited growth and evolution by moving further and becoming an epitome of peace. Like Lord Buddha, even his idols emanate peace consciousness, who lived over 2500 years ago.
The next week, we will cover different texts on yoga and the evolution of knowledge in yoga from its origin until date.
(Series on Yoga philosophy and Practice -3) – The Evolution of knowledge of yoga since its birth