Yoga, Physiotherapy, Health, Sankhya, Metaphysics, Sanatana Dharma, Perennialists & Hinduism

Fictitious Fact or Farce of the 5 elemental Phenomena !

on March 20, 2012

Dear readers,

The last post hopefully provided some decent links to the topic on Advaita.

As promised, this post covers some thoughts on Advaita in the context of Yoga practice & Sankhya metaphysics. For this, it is accepted that the earlier concepts shared can be made reference to with a familiarity that permits a few presumptions.

Notably, the categorizing of Vedanta philosophy into 5 aspects or stages of; macro-dualism, micro-dualism, qualified non-dualism, non-dualism and non-causality; the first 2 conceptual propositions being a further division of the philosophy of dualism, as per classical texts, for the purpose of accommodating the scientific method into a possible modern paradigm of Vedanta teachings. With the addition of the concept of Ajata, or non-causality, at the other conceptual extreme, this makes a total of 5 aspects as opposed to the classical 3 that are usually found in Vedanta – of dualism, qualified non-dualism and non-dualism.

To refresh on this topic, you can visit an old post –, or read Appendix 6 (bottom of post) on this link

Whilst the process of  categorising is an intellectual habit of the mind, and seemingly incongruous with the philosophy of Advaita; which is to abide at the source of the mind, I thought it interesting and necessary to share the concept as a concept, to clarify, for the purposes of language “games”, the relative axioms that most Vedanta language may be played and conversed on (ie. the 5 above).  The ultimate aim of Advaita is to arrive at a non-causal state of Silence or “Mouna” that transcends speech, concepts and mind.

A future post will look at the metaphysical connection of language (letters) to the mouth (palate), body (chakras) and Nakshatras; and reconsider language against  western concepts developed by the logical positivists, Wittgenstein (language games)  and Chomsky (mental constructs); considering the metaphysical assumptions of the Sanskrit language.

Car as an analogy for the 5 gears of the mind

But for now, a good analogy for the mind, that comes to mind, is that of  a “car”. We are in the car, but not the car.  In the same way, the mind is like a car, and the witness, the “I am” principle that sits in the car and appears to steer its movements. A  car has 5 gears through which we apparently move through life. In the same way, it is through the above 5 conceptual levels or gears that most movements of the mind makes it assumptions to think.

Therefore, this post proposes some generalisations about which “gear” the aspects/practices of  Yoga, Samkhya and Advaita philosophy  conceptually fall into in terms of the above 5 gear framework.

Neither assertion nor negation by a primary illusion

From the last post, Advaita is explained as the philosophy of non-dualism, experientially arrived at through the process of Self-inquiry, mediation and abidance in the “heart”. The assumptions of Advaita is that the primary illusion is the “I am” principle which is synonymous with Consciousness, Witness or Being, and that any identification around this principle, whether it be a physical body, body of thoughts and  knowledge, or a body of space is the same expression of this fundamental ignorance.

Thus, any assertion or negation, even of an advaitic slogan or Mahavakya, is made by the mind and, is not That or it.  So  again, with reference to earlier posts (, any affirmation such as suggested by Sathya Sai Baba to remember … “I am God, I am not different from God..” , or negation (, as by Adi Shankacharya such as … “I  am not mind, wisdom, pride, and heart etc”, serve only to remove the habitual ignorance of identification with  other thoughts; much like a mantra.

However, the words assist in strengthening the conviction to still the introverted mind of thoughts by the spiritual Heart, Being or Love. They all point to something beyond the mind and its assertions and negations.

Relatively speaking – all is learned ignorance

On a relative level, concepts and words are used to remove grosser concepts until the discrimination has refined and released all thoughts and operates intuitively as Pure Consciousness. The Vedas have an explanation for this apparent development of mind; from Supermind to Higher mind to Illumined mind to Over mind. But, Realisation, the Self and Reality lies beyond all these levels and is Absolute.

To arrive at this “unknowing Absolute state”, knowledge must be acquired to remove ignorance, and then knowledge and ignorance must be thrown out; as all knowledge is, from the Ultimate point of view, learned Ignorance.

The classic example used to highlight this is that of using a thorn to remove a thorn, and then the thorn is no longer needed. From the philosophy of Advaita, the so called “knower”, Witness, or principle of “I am”, itself is the final thorn of ignorance that must be discarded.  But, this is at the stage of full knowledge of one’s relative ignorance!

Thus, the desire of this post to share the idea of relative ignorance on 5 levels or “gears”.

Gear 1. Macro-dualism (causality & karma) = World is real

Gear 2. Micro-dualism (causality & karma) = Body is Real

Gear 3. Qualified Non-dualism (spontaneous creation) = World and Body are real when “You” (Witness) are there to see it

Gear 4. Non-dualism (Oneness) = There is only One Consciousness

Gear 5. Non-causality (Transcendental) = Absolute “Tat”

Shifting gears – thorns removing conceptual thorns

The suggestion is that any advaitic convictions, such as those referred to above (by Sathya Sai Baba or Adi Shankacharya) from earlier posts, are statements operating on the conceptual 4th gear of Advaita or Non-dualism, and used to help remove the thorn of the 3rd gear; qualified non-dualism (knowledge depending on the knower as “I am”), so as to reach the 5th gear of Absolute “I” or non-causality. ie. that there has never been a birth or death, neither was the “I” ever been born or died; it never happened!

However, for most of us,  this sense of “I am” is habitually tied up with the more limited level of  body identification, and keeps one’s identification within the realm of duality – the 1st (macro-dualistic world) and 2nd (micro-dualistic body) gears of conception; in which the sciences and scientific method operates.

Thus, on a lower relative conceptual assumption than Advaita, the philosophy of qualified non-dualism helps to to remove the micro and macro dualistic “gears”, and intellectually transition the same relative “I” from the level of body identification to the identification with the body of  space and consciousness as the Witness. This new assumption, by removing the thorn of dualism,  arrives at the advaita philosophy of  non-dual experience.

Thus, in reverse to the logic above,  qualified non-dualism removes dualism, non-dualism removes qualified non-dualism, but finally, the experience of a non-cauasl state removes words!

So where does concept of Yoga & Sankhya fit into this framework?

A definition of Yoga and it’s various paths for various temperaments has been discussed in this earlier post –; ie. tantra/kundalini, karma, bhakti, jnana, raja. However, in todays context, most practitioners of Yoga in the West are following a form of Raja and Hatha yoga – ie. physical Yoga that concerns the body and its 7 chakras. And, from the above 5 framework schema, falls within the “2nd gear” of micro-dualism.

Samkhya philosophy, which reveals the inter-connection of the microcosm and macrocosm, based on 24 principles, perhaps reveals the “gear’ of qualified non-dualism. That the outer 5 elements, the inner 5 senses (or organs of knowledge), 5 organs of action, 5 pranas and the 4 components of the mind all reveal that knowledge (5 elements and senses) depends on a knower (the mind), but that these are one in Consciousness (knower, knowing and known).

Thus, Yoga can be seen as a dualistic assumption that uses Samkhya metaphysics as a qualified state to remove its limitations and arrive at the Advaita  of  “I” as Consciousness. Advaita in turn, is used to remove the thorn, or gear, of Samkhya Metaphysics (qualified non-dualistic “I”)  to arrive at the Absolute “I” and non-causal position of the Ajata doctrine.

With regards to Advaita philosophy, juxta-positioning Sankhya & Ajata, it’s teachings often emphasize the concept of the entire consciousness as a “dream phenomena”! It just appears to be real to those dreaming in unreality of…

The fictitious fact of 5 elemental phenomena. A f-oxymoron farce to forget!

Other terms used to depict this highest level of inscrutable Maya in explaining  the apparition called “creation”, or the dream of consciousness, are expressions  such as “horns of a hare”, “child of a barren women”, etc…

These sound like the vedantic equivalent of a Zen Koan, used to paradoxically shock us out of  all conceptual modes and free of the mind’s conditioning and  co-ordianting factor… ie. the “I” principle – the fundamental illusion, and arrive at non-dual experience.

Non-dual Experience

In the experience of Advaita or non-dualism, inner and outer becomes one, an ocean of consciousness, which on stilling, plummets into the  unfathomable, causeless, timeless, spaceless State where  “I” alone is, and fundamental ignorance of  causal memory is transcended… we wake up from the “dream” … a flicker in the infintude of the Self… where  I alone am (I am That I am) and the highest truth realised …. there is no birth, there is no death, there is no creation there is no desturuction, there are no separate souls etc……

Sincere, Regular Practice of Meditational Self-inquiry combined with “Dream” awareness

However, until this concept of non-dualism is experience as one’s reality and even transcended, the best policy is to sincerely practice introverted Self-inquiry with meditation. And, in the process of daily activites, SILENTLY use the memory of the dream analogy to maintain awareness of the minds concept as a concept, using the 5 gears through which its assumptions and logic operate; whether through one’s own mind or others.

And, perhaps the middle gear of qualified non-dualism and Sankhya metaphysics will hep the most in this regard; with a constant integrated awareness that the phenomenal world of 5 elements are appearing through the 5 senses, and operating the body through the 5 pranas and the 5 organs of action.But throughout all this, be the detached witness to its appearance in the mind; the reflecting medium based on the conditioned memory. And, remember that your true, unencumbered, boundless  true nature or Self  has nothing to do with any of this!

By keeping this attitude of qualified non-dualism, that everything only appears in the NOW when you are there to perceive it, dissolves the illusion of past and future, and the dangerous limitations of dualism that keep one constrainted in time and space; extrovertly extrapolating a future (worry or desire), or in infinite regress of some past (fear or memory).

This pseudo-true attitude and position that only Now exists, opens the portal to the concentration and expansion of  the mind into the Heart and Being, and the natural delivery of ones’ inherent legacy to a non-dual experience, preparing the way, or more appropriately removing the obstacles (thoughts) to stilling the Being into its Absolute identity (the screen on which everything appears).

But, in the process, it is probably best to keep the fictitious thoughts to one’s fictitious self. Otherwise, you might be in danger of becoming the funnier than the farce itself!

Dream Rules – Game of the Gunas & Play of Polarity (3, 2, 1 !)

Also, it might be useful, whilst recognising all phenomena, including one’s relative self, as dream-like in substance, to acknowledge the 3 modifications of consciousness and nature (Prakriti) that make up the rules of the dream; Satwa, Rajas & Tamas; as well as the opposing contrasts of yin/yang, male/female, good/bad, right/wrong, pleasure/pain, attraction/aversion, knowledge & ignorance.

This has been well explained in the Bhagavad Gita:-

” A man is said to have transcended the Gunas when he does not hate the light of Sattwa, or the activity of Rajas, or even the delusion of Tamas, while these prevail; and yet does not long for them after they have ceased. He is like one who sites unconcerned, and is not disturbed by the gunas. He knows that they are the doers of all action and never loses his power of discrimination. He rests in the inner calm of the Atman, regarding happiness and suffering as one.”

Whilst the Bhagavad Gita recommends a psychological renunciation of the fruits of  action to a higher power, in effect it arrives at the wisdom of a detached witness to the play of gunas; automatically inviting in satwa, dharma and excellence, or perfection of inaction in action, and action in inaction.

Anyway, the Bhagavad Gita with it’s integration of Karma, Bhakti & Jnana provides a holistic and practical approach to counter any excessive intellectualism and conceptual constipation.

Dangers of too much premature Advaita – conceptual constipation!

A note on the dangers of premature Jnanis or Advaita will be added on to this post in the next couple of days.

In short, often intellectual processing can go so far as to get confused for a kundalini awakening!… and the contradictions in one’s character gets confused and confounded with conceptual constipation.

Without Love leading to Unity within and without (including the “illusory” self-concept), there is no purity of perception (the One “I”) to realise one’s own Divinity.

In short, it is important to get one’s own house in order before amusing oneself, “thinking” one is paradoxically realised;  even though the paradox is supposed to get rid of you! Sincere, disciplined self-inquiry and regular mediation are often required before knowledge gets transmuted by grace into experience.

And, the ego can play mischief without the necessary devotion to sinks it’s attention out of the head (“I” thought) and into the Heart (“I” feeling).

Parroting the conceptual pills of other gurus’ works that are mechanistically sound, and maybe good preparation for Self-inquiry, but which are no substitute for doing the contemplative work oneself.

For example, even though the works of Rameh Balsekar (Advaita with a mechanisitc, circular philosophy  of “Gods Will” for the  intellectually obsessed), Eckhart Tolle (NOW or Presence for contextual Being), and Neale Donald Walsch (intellectual conversations with your intuition) have awakened a great many people to the path, they can become conversational pieces or platitudes rather than pills of understanding to practice through introversion.

And, in my opinion, one of the greatest dangers is the tendency of advaita  philosophy without practice, is inviting the dangerous eternal question of free will versus destiny, potentially self-sabotaging the the intention of Self inquiry and Power of Presence by getting involved  in the mind games of tracing causes in the past’,or by defeating the will by explaining everything as a “movie” already played, or script already written. This, whether true or not, can lead to a dangerous laziness, self-satisfied complacency, and defeatist attitude in the resolute effort needed, not only to understand, but to still the mind and realise the Self.

Anyway, this earlier post, being on the heavier side, I will digest myself to see if it requires editing, or is suffering from indigestion!

Here is the thought of the day from Prashanti Nilayam. I think it will suffice for now. (20th Marrch 2012) (24th March 2012)

The next post will be on meditation.

The importance of Regular Meditation & Sense Control

(whilst unraveling the Mystery of the Mind ie. out of sight, out of mind) (12th March 2012)

OM Tat Sat

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