Oct 13, 2014

Sutra 1.24.Ishvarapranidhana (continued). Ishvarapranidhana and purusha

In my two previous posts I have without further ado explicated to the reader my understanding of the “ishvarapranidhana” category introduced by Patanjali. Yet an attentive reader might remember that the author of Yoga Sutras tends to give the definition of the new concepts in the lines that follow their introduction. Now, does the understanding of ishavara proposed by me meet the definition that was given by Patanjali?

Sep 24, 2014

Sutra 1.23. Ishvarapranidhana and Chakra System

In the previous article I have outlined my idea of ishvarapranidhana conceptually. Now I will try to consider this issue from a more “practical” point, from the perspective of how to form this state proper and what are the elements it consists of. The methods of my review shall be based upon the concept of the man chakra system. And in order to avoid any misunderstandings which may arise in the process of reading the article I shall make a few remarks.

1. Of course Patanjali does not mention chakras expressly, especially in the context of ishvarapranidhana. The question of when and how this concept appeared in Yoga deserves a separate article that I hope to write. But in any case it does not prevent me from using this methodology since this is the very point of the commenting-on genre – to make the commented subject more clear and applicative while being guided by some more complex systems of signs. Besides, I treat chakras as objective elements of mental reality; therefore it is simply not possible to ignore them while giving any descriptions of psychic experiences.

Aug 29, 2014

Sutra 1.23. Ishvarapranidhana

In the last dozen of my blog posts I have somewhat deviated from the linear and sequential expansion of the Sutra commentary. Many issues required clarification and more detailed consideration, or they were my contemplations that were wandering in such a mysterious way – so far the format of blog allows taking such liberties, unlike the one of the book. But the time has probably come to turn back to successive commentary on Yoga Sutras. And I must admit that this is the first time that I do it with some reluctance. Of course it is not because I have lost interest in the subject – on the contrary, it has become even more profound; this is because the next 4 lines are dedicated to one of rather tricky moments of Yoga Sutras – the concept of ishvarapranidhana, and, correspondingly, that of ishvara. Again, there is nothing dramatic about it; moreover, I’ve got some sound ideas to share on the issue. Yet when we start discussing the subject we come out on a thin ice with turbid waters of religiosity splashing under it. 

Apr 22, 2014

Sutra1.2. Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha and Shamanic Experience

In this blog, as well as in other works of mine, I have more than once mentioned shamanic roots of yoga much as of other psychopractices. However there comes a question: are the key goals and practices of yoga as laid down by Patanjali correlated with analogous goals and practices of shamanism? It may be difficult to see the commonality at first (and unsophisticated) glance; but in terms of a more detailed analysis based upon an attempt to comprehend the underlying content of the psychotechnical experience described by means of available metaphors rather than the externals that each system is known by, the continuity of shamanism and yoga in this aspect will become obvious. 

Apr 8, 2014

The Lessons of Mahabharata and “Traditional” Values

Have you ever paid attention to the fact that allgrand classic epics are utterly tragic and their endingsare worlds away from those happy-ends of Hollywoodthat we are used to? So that even if the principal (allegedly positive) characters attain their goals they experience heavy disappointment all the same.Gilgamesh loses the magical herb of immortality andaccepts his destiny of a mortal man; Rama is not ableto enjoy the company of his wife whose bringing backcost him significant efforts, and so he suffers from loneliness; the Pandavas, the principle characters of Mahabharata, having survived the tragic death of almost all of their relatives and fellows-in-arms during the war that they had launched are ill-fated in their attempts to ascend to heaven alive and end up finding themselves in the realms of the hell (having in factcommitted a ritual suicide). 

Mar 6, 2014

Sutra 1.15. Some More Words About Vairagya

It was the very same period the year before that Iwas in Varanasi and in this blog of mine I was blissfully and deliberately reflecting upon Vairagya as one of the fundamental methods of yoga. Yet the recentsituation in my country [Ukraine, Dec.2013-March, 2014 – transl.note] not only encourages me to get back to this subject – this time in some other states - but it also gives an immense scope of new experience and food for thought.

As we might remember, in his sutra 1.15 Patanjali gives the following definition of vairagya:

1.15 the disengagement from emotions [related to] the seen and heard objects is the sign of mastery in vairagya. 

I had to spend this last week in Germany from where I had access to both Russian TV channels and Ukrainian internet. The difference between the coverage of one and the same events made by different states is incredible!!!

Feb 16, 2014

The Arabic Translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras made by Al-Biruni. The Problem of Yoga Impact on Sufism

“And when these [Hindu] books were read to me letter by letter
and I comprehended their contents, my conscience could
in no way have me fail to impart them to those yearning to read them. After all, 
avarice is the worst crime and the deepest sin when it is related to knowledge” . 

It was at Vienna conference «Yoga in Transformation…» that I for the first time happened to hear about Kitab Patanjal when Noemie Verdon, the doctoral candidate from Lausanne University, was giving her lecture dedicated to this book. As far as I have understood, the lecturer is today just about the only one world expert in this manuscript, and so I was really lucky to have met this source.

Jan 27, 2014

The Koans of Zen and Meditative Question

“The Koan is the door,
the answer is the key.
But the basic point is not about opening the door,
It is about what you will see there...»
(Probably, if I have put it here, someone might have said this somewhere…)
In one of the previous articles of this blog in have outlined a fundamental aspect of understanding the meditation (dhiana).

Some words about Kumbh Mela

I have recalled that I have a small thing to be done for the blog. Early last year I visited Kumbh Mela and I promised I would express my opinion concerning the symbolism of this holiday, but I was tied up with my affairs and I have not written a corresponding port. But I will do it now.
So, according to the legend the festival of Kumbh Mela is associated with a story that tells that Garuda had spilled some drops (mela) from the bowl (kumbha) with amrita stolen from Gods. The major portion of the amrita was spilled in the place where the Ganges meets the Yamuna (Prayaga), thus one’s bathing in this place during a holiday is favourable.