Mar 26, 2013

Sutra 1.16. The Gunas: Psychological Interpretation

So, as we have already mentioned earlier, the shloka 1.16 of the Yoga Sutras links the practice of vairagya to the category of gunas.

तत्परं पुरुषख्यातेर्गुणवैतृष्णयम् ॥१६॥
1.16 tatparaṃ puruṣakhyāterguṇavaitṛṣṇayam

First of all let us outline the translation of the shloka.

tat - that. In this case this word denotes the vairagya from the previous line
paraṃ – highest, at the utmost
puruṣa - Purusha, a man, Me
khyāteh - knowledge, comprehension
guṇa - guna
vai-tṛṣṇayam – this word contains the root trishna already known to us and the prefix vai that the Monier-Williams dictionary translates as “to be deprived of”.

Let us draw the initial variant of the translation:

1.16 the utmost (vairagya) comes when Purusha is comprehended by means of disengagement from gunas.

Such variant of translation comes in line with the text logic. Indeed, if we assume that Patanjali has determined vairagya as dis-trishning/disengagement (sorry for this self citation J) from emotions in relation to the observed objects, the utmost vairagya shall be the one that comes to disengagement from some primary experiences that are the gunas. In such translation version the gunas should be correlated with some psychological states. Let us do this and in such a way UNDERSTAND the meaning of this phrase and the hence ensuing psycho-practices.

The Modern Scientific Methods of Describing Psyche and Psychologic Experience

In order to proceed further with interpreting the Yoga Sutra text we need to take a look at different methods of describing the psyche and the object-matter of psycho-practices. I have already analyzed this issue in my monographs thus I shall not draw a new article but shall cite an excerpt from my last monograph 
“Psycho-practices in Mystical Traditions from the Antiquity to the Present”. 

I insist that the reader who wants to understand the meaning of the next article about psychological interpretation of Gunas reads this text. And so:

The energetic paradigm describes psyche as a system of energetic objects. 

Mar 6, 2013

Sutras1.12 - 1.15. The Methods Abhyasa and Vairagya and Ajna Chakra Petals

Let us step back from our reflections on gunas and return to abhyasa and vairagya. Having taken another thought about these methods I have noticed an apparent analogy with the way the right and left petals of ajna chakra are unctioning. 

And after this I recalled my concept of right- and left-petal meditations that I set forth in my first book - “The Psychology of Spiritual Advance” published in 1995.

Despite the simplicity of its presentment I still believe the idea itself to be true and accurate, that’s why I shall draw an excerpt and some explanatory illustrations from the book completing them with my commentaries of today that I will highlight in italics.

Mar 4, 2013

Sutra 1.16. The Gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas

The line 1.16 of Yoga Sutras refers to the category of “gunas”, thus in order to understand this line we need first to study out the meaning of this category, so let us proceed to this.

Normally each one who is somehow related to yoga even in its most “pop” variants has heard the terms that denote each of the three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas. However the paradox here is that though using these terms in various applied aspects – starting from “Vedic” culinary art and up to Hatha-yoga – the majority of people don’t make any attempt to understand the definition: WHAT are the gunas in their general meaning. Moreover, they are not only pseudo-esoterics who are far from this understanding, but the experts in Indian culture and philosophy as well. It seems like everyone has so much got used to the category that they have all ceased “losing their sleep” over its core point. In most cases they introduce the three gunas through “pure Vishuddha”, i.e. by means of different metaphors. For instance, the Krishnaites prefer emotional metaphors: sattva is the loftiness and nobleness, rajas is the passion while tamas is the ignorance; the followers of Ayurveda are prone to describing it in physiological manner, for instance tamas is the sleepiness. Even the Indology experts use the metaphors, though their metaphors come close to notions of humanities. For instance, Max Mueller, the outstanding scientist, has correlated the three gunas with Hegel’s triad thesis-antithesis-synthesis.