Yoga

[updated 2017]

An excerpt from Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga

The Yogi teaches that the mind itself has a higher state of existence, beyond reason, a superconscious state, and when the mind gets to that higher state, then this knowledge, beyond reasoning, comes to man. Metaphysical and transcendental knowledge comes to that man.

Shiva – The Absolute Yogi

This state of going beyond reason, transcending ordinary human nature, may sometimes come by chance to a man who does not understand its science; he, as it were, stumbles upon it. When he stumbles upon it, he generally interprets it as coming from outside. So this explains why an inspiration, or transcendental knowledge, may be the same in different countries, but in a one country it will seem to come through an angel, and in another through a Deva, and in a third through God. What does it mean? It means that the mind brought the knowledge by its own nature, and that the finding of the knowledge was interpreted according to the belief and education of the person through whom it came. The real fact is that these various men, as it were, stumbled upon this superconscious state. The Yogi says there is a great danger in stumbling upon this state. In a good many cases there is the danger of the brain being deranged, and, as a rule, you will find that all those men, however great they were, who had stumbled upon this superconscious state without understanding it, groped in the dark, and generally had, along with their knowledge some quaint superstition.
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Whenever a prophet got into the superconscious state by heightening his emotional nature, he brought away from it not only some truths, but some fanaticism also, some superstition which injured the world as much as the greatness of the teaching helped. To get any reason out of the mass of incongruity we call human life, we have to transcend our reason, but we must do it scientifically, slowly, by regular practice, and we must cast off all superstition. We must take up the study of the superconscious state just as any other science. On reason we must have to lay our foundation, we must follow reason as far as it leads, and when reason fails reason itself will show us the way to the highest plane.

Yoga is a Hindu Invention

There is been concerted effort by many of those in the yoga industry in the West to usurp yoga from its Hindu roots, by saying like anyone could have invented yoga, it is universal, it exists in nature, etc.

Whether you like or not yoga is a Hindu innovation, arising from several thousand years of years of advancement in mind-sciences and metaphysics, by numerous types of yogis (rishis, siddhars, samanars, sanyasis, etc) experimenting, refining, testing, and so, culminating in what we known as yoga, compiled by Patanjali into the reference guide known as the Yoga Sutras.

The word yoga occurs tens of thousands of times across all major Hindu spiritual literature, in not just Sanskrit, but every major language across India.

Hindus have had numerous philosophical texts and expositions on the various types of yoga, and in depth treatment of each yoga by great spiritually enlightened masters throughout the eons.

Yoga is Hindu and Gravity is not Christian

I’d like to pick on the pseudo-intellectual comment by one spiritual leader, Jaggi Vasudev, who said “if yoga is Hindu, then gravity is Christian”. It is such a ridiculous analogy, and yet it has caught the attention of those trying to wrestle yoga from its Hindu roots. This quote has been brainlessly repeated often. Here is what is wrong with that quote:

First: Gravity is a property of nature. Yoga is an invention.

I can understand if that guru said “if yoga is Hindu, then the Law of Gravity is a Christian”. But even this would be wrong for two reasons:

Yoga is an invention, while the Law of Gravity is a discovery [of a law inherent in nature].

Secondly even if the Law of Gravity was an invention, it is not a Christian invention. Newton did not discover the Law of Gravity by studying the Bible. Jesus did not hand him the Law of Gravity down from sky.

In contrast, Yoga is a Hindu invention, as Hindus used at least two to three thousand years worth of mind tools and techniques for sharpening the mind, enhancing concentration, raising level of awareness, elevating consciousness, different means of perception, exploring various levels of consciousness, experiencing other states of existence,.. to eventually culminate in the science of Yoga.

In contrast there is no history of experiments and innovations in mind sciences in Western culture (until the last 50 years, thanks to exposure and theft of Hindu spiritual literature). In fact Western psychology is so primitive that it deals with only two states: conscious and subconscious.

I’d venture to also add that the schools of philosophy (which included intense scrutiny, debates, intense practices and verification methods) around Hindu mind sciences (“psychology”) is so rigorous that it would rival today’s mathematicians in its rigor. In time, as people take yoga to the next level, they will find out for themselves.

Marketing

If there is one thing that the West is an expert at, and Indians very bad at, it is marketing.

For example, Hindus had yoga for over 6,000 years as an integral part of the lives in the form of bhakti, jnana, karma, raja, kriya, and so on.

And yet, the West, with just one taste of yoga, turned it into a billion dollar industry, commercialized and commoditized in every aspect, with over 20 million practicing it in the USA alone. And that too, considering that the yoga of the West is just a small component of yoga called asanas, — just the psycho-somatic exercise part of  yoga. Technically yoga as it is practices in the West should be called “asanas” or “yoga asana”, and not yoga, as does mean just asanas. For example, it also includes leading a certain lifestyle, such as of ahmisa, vegetarianism, practice of concentration, meditation, bhakti.

Patenting Yoga

Patenting yoga? I’m just joking, but let’s just entertain this thought. Maybe India should really patent yoga and take Western companies to international court for intellectual property theft if they give no attribution to the source. You’ll have the yoga industry and pseudo-liberal leftists up in arms, shouting: how dare India try to patent yoga, yoga is for everyone, yoga is for humanity, etc. Really? so you can make yoga into a billion dollar industry, but India (the creator) cannot even claim a penny? Belying the fact that I never said India should ask royalty but just attribution (and fines for those who don’t).

Having said that, I wouldn’t mind if India did in fact ask royalty. Why not? it should not be that difficult, considering whether you know it are not, you are paying some sort of royalty to someone for many of the everyday products you use. Just a personal computer, has probably over 100 intellectual property licenses (from the semiconductor fabrication process of the microprocessor to the keyboard design) that you pay for indirectly.

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