Thursday, October 22, 2009

New age Yama & Niyama

Yama & Niyama are the basic moral behavior suggested to the individual in Indian / yogic tradition. I have been thinking that a basic understanding of the functioning of the world - politics, economics and social structure, their consequences and implications should also be included in the list. Otherwise, you might be enlightened, but still be totally lost when it comes to important matters related to the human society. For e.g, here we see Paramahamasa Nithayanada, an enlightened master, uttering fairly nonsensical things that he probably does not really understand.

Nithyananda says in this video recorded in USA (reproduced verbatim)
For a new transformed world, my hope lies with youth, especially NRI (non-residential Indian) youth. If I am asked to create a world newly, (Ill create a world that has) the infrastructure, medical care, roads, bridges, dams, social freedom of the west and, the mental and physical structure of the east. Yogic hardware (body), vedic software (mind) and western infrastructure is the key to a new world order.
As I was hearing this, I just felt, Swamiji, please restrict yourself to things you know and do not venture out into things you do not really understand. Yes, there are many nice things in western infrastructure but all of these have many tonnes of hidden costs. Infrastructure like roads necessarily imply extreme consumption of gasoline leading to pollution and global warming, installation of oppressive and many times very violent regimes in many gulf countries, arbitrary wars to secure supply of gasoline etc. Yes, social freedom in the west is fabulous but the line between social freedom and social apathy is fairly thin. So, many things in western infrastructure has hidden costs. So, blindly appreciating only the positives is not smart! It misses the big picture.

This (a lack of understanding of the functioning of the world) also leads to other issues. A friend of mine was talking about how he saw huge vinyl boards with images of Nithyananda all over Vellore. This has two fold problems. One is that it is propagating a style of personality cult. Nothing to deny Nithyananda's amazing wisdom, but that does not justify a personality cult. Other is the environmental costs of huge vinyl boards is really high and is something that is best avoided. Claiming refuge in saying, my state of being or state of consciousness is at the supreme level and hence I do not have to care about silly things like 'environmental issues' is shere escapism and cannot be condoned. Of course, it is possible that the swami is simply not aware of these things. I do totally understand that it takes a bit of living in the real world as a conventional / unenlightened person to understand/experience its ways.

Hence, my view that a basic understanding of the functioning of the world should be included in the modern version of 'yama and niyama'.


Karthik said...

I think part of the enlightened persona *must be* to understand what one knows/what one can/should say from what one knows. Such an enlightenment without knowledge/awareness must be considered passe instead of claiming the original enlightenment to be *the* enlightenment and knowledge of the world to be mired in samsara. Whats the use of the sine wave, if not to reconstruct various other real world waves. Sure, the sine wave can exist on its own, has its rightful place, but its deepest utility is found in the ability to express a random wave in terms of it. ;)

Karthik said...

And I think, there is enough there in Yama/Niyama in terms of principles for knowledge for functioning in the world to emerge out of.

Partha said...

I do not know what you exactly mean by enlightened.

To me, its simply the complete and total absence of 'me' leading to your heart being at peace all the time, irrespective of the situation. So, intellectual knowledge / understanding is not a requirement. Though, it sure will result in time.

But, this enlightenment, does not prevent such people from making stupid mistakes or from getting fooled despite all other knowledge and wisdom, just like you, me or anyone else for that matter.

But, in these times when it is important for such people to venture out into the world, they can get easily fooled and thats why I was saying its important for them to understand the ways of the world.

So, what I am claiming is that, without focused effort, it is not possible to understand the ways of the society these days and hence there are higher chances of getting fooled.

Karthik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeevita said...

Why is absence of 'me' enlightenment?