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June 2007

God or Krishna?

One thing any unbiased observer of religion will notice is the fact that when it comes to moral conduct and sense of social responsibility all religions are basically identical in what they expect from their believers. When it comes to devotional practices they also share a lot of commonality. It is the view on cosmogony and the afterlife condition that fundamentally differs.



Some years ago, I was going through the Radio Times and my eyes were caught by a program about string theory. At the same time I was interested in the yoga philosophy expounded in the Bhagavad Gita and realised the strings sounded familiar to the gunas (strings)expounded in Sankhya philosophy which underpins all matter. Of course entirely different concepts are involved here and the use of the term strings in both cases could be pure coincidence. On the other hand they could be one and the same thing and the ancients yogins could intuit something directly that present day mathematicians conceptualize as strings.

At the same time I was beginning to realize that the primary tenets of Yoga could be made purely on grounds of reason alone, from reasoning about the phenomena around us, without any kind of spiritual or meditative revelation.

Of course being able to reason about such things is not the same as having direct perception of them, but at least a sound convincing argument can be made. Whether that can be grounds for a proper attempt to verify them from the meditative disciplines of Yoga is an entirely different matter. If anything at all that knowledge provides the impetus for studying Yoga properly.

Initially I wanted to make rational arguments alone without any religious sentiments or ideas coming in to it, but over the years I have realized that with the mind being an organic entity (yet being intangible and invisible) is subject to morbidity just like any physical organ and needs to properly exercised and conditioned just like the physical body.

I also realized that dharma, together with the karma and bhakti yoga practices constituted the exercises for the mind which keeps it strong, focused and supple for the higher disciplines of Yoga, especially when it comes to development of will and egolessness.

With thy thoughts all actions
   Casting upon me, devoted to Me,
Turn to discipline of mentality,
   Keep thine mind ever fixed on Me.

If thy mind is on Me, all difficulties
   Shalt thou cross over by My grace;
But if through egotism thou
   Wilt not heed, thou shalt perish.

On account of that the bulk of these writings have more of a karma/bhakti orientation than a sankhya orientation. I don't know whether the analytical aspect can be described as sankhya but it just seems me to be in the same analytical spirit.

With the passage of time I will flesh out analytical parts some more as I believe that making arguments which transcend any kind of cultural and religious differences should be the basis for the advocacy of Yoga.

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