Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vyaadhi Sthyaana Samsaya et al

I was having a discussion with some of my students at IIT on the deeper meanings of yoga, my motivations to take up yoga seriously etc. In the course of conversation I was talking about some of my findings about the state of our society and humanity at large across various dimensions. Here are some documentaries that highlights most ugly and dark side of our societies. Exposure to these things really did shake me up and sent me on the discovery of Yoga. 

------------------ VIDEOS ------------------ 

Sainath, an award winning and widely respected journalist talks about globalization and the dark side of it which we rarely get to hear of in our educational institutes and at out work places. Remember the discussion on duality we all had. This is the other side that we are all directly responsible for the creation of.

2. Walmart - High cost of low price
This documentary talks about how big money is made by corporations like walmart. All our education system does is to prepare us for this.Is this really needed? Of course, walmart cannot be singled out. They are the leaders of the pack. There are countless other organizations in the race. We also willingly or unwillingly participate. What is our response?

3. The Corporation
Lays out threadbare the great catastrophe that unbridled capitalism has unleashed upon. Again, very rarely discussed in B-schools. Why have we been kept in the blind?

4. Mindwalk
A very nice documentary on some of the issues and the philosophical aspects of the root cause of these issues.

5. Slow poisoning of india
A documentary on the use of Endosulphan in Kasargod, kerala, And we all still have not become primarily organic food eaters!

6. Earthlings
A documentary on the gruesome vioence humanity has unleashed on fellow living beings on earth! Extraordinarily gruesome but real footage.

7. The Empire in Africa
The violence greed for diamonds has unleashed on some poor and innocent people in Sierra Leone. 


------------------ BOOKS ------------------
  1. Legacy of Luna - Julia Hill
  2. Elephant Whisperer - Anthony Lawrence
  3. Silent Spring - Rachel Carson
  4. Gorillas in the mist - Dian Fossey
  5. Case against the global economy and for a turn towards the local - edited by Jerry Mander
  6. Everyone loves a good drought - P. Sainath
  7. Confronting Consumption - MIT Press
  8. Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh - Helena Norberg Hodge
  9. Economy of permanence - J.C. Kumarappa
  10. Small is beautiful - E.F. Schumacher
  11. Left to Tell - Immaculee Ilibagiza

As one reads these books and watches these documentaries, one comes to grip over the state of the world on many dimensions. To be honest, there is shit all around. We are all neck deep in a very serious crisis of the proportion that humanity has never seen before.

But, sadly, most peoples bodies and minds are so diseased that they cant even appreciate this state of affairs. Their own immediate concerns are far too overwhelming. The sanskrit word for this is vyaadhi. For some others, who are not diseased, the mind is comfortably numb, likes this numbness and does not even want to attempt to change this. The sanskrit word for this is sthyaana. Finally, when it wakes up to all this even a little bit, there is doubt. There is doubt whether these things are real. There is doubt if anything can be done about it at all. There is doubt if one is really the person to doubt this. There is doubt about all of this and more. This is samsaya. That most individuals seems to ignore this adds to the doubt. Not only do they ignore, they actively take the opposite stand. In particular, they encourage to ignore this and take the opposite stand.

Very few individuals cross this point of response to the madness all around. But, sadly, even those who cross this tend to be careless often. They do not take this response as seriously as they should be. The childish frivolousness has not left them. This is pramaada. They try to response a few times but nothing changes. The enthusiasm drops and they become careless. Then there are those who can be serious but are lazy about the whole thing. Their minds are dull and become insensitive over a period of time. This is alasya. For those who cross this, there is yet another stumbling block that even many of the wise fall for. This is inability to restrain sensual habit patterns. Lost in these, they waste energy. And then, they are impatient about getting to the target. Obviously, with all energy lost in sensual habit patterns, the target will always be far away. This is avirati.

Only those who have crossed all of the above can actually do something about the issues all around us. All the rest are lost in dealing with their own problems. But, there are issues to be dealt with still. Though there is energy now, clear vision is lacking. Such individuals go behind many mirages. They have illusions about the problems, possible solutions and most of all about themselves. Some of them consider themselves to be great heroes ala neo from The Matrix. This, obviously, is a recipe for disaster. This is called branthi darsana.

Though they have delusions, such people make some progress. Something is better than nothing. But, still, there is a long way to go. As a result of illusions, one does not understand the target clearly. Unless one does so, one cannot divide the targets into clear steps and go over it one at a time. This is Alabdhabhumikatva. Then, one is not able to even maintain the gains one has mind and slides back into earlier stages of false understanding, doubt, laziness etc. This is Anavasthitatvani. Overall there will be constant distractions of mind and one cannot go about responding to all the mess around with one pointed focus. This is citta viksepa

Only when an individual crosses all these levels can he or she clearly respond to this to his/her fullest capabilities. This will take the individual deep into yoga and will produce a deep response to the mess all around. This, in my opinion, is one of the core meanings of the following yoga sutra from samadhi pada of patanjali yoga sutra.

Here Patanjali talks about the various stage of half baked responses one gives to the world in the process of ones inner development. Another way of looking at this is the various impediments to growth.

Doing this not an easy task. One needs to work on oneself.
  1. One needs to work thoroughly on ones spine and breath using asana and pranayama. A strong and supple spine is the physical foundation on which ones response can be built. A long and subtle breath goes hand in hand with that. One may have to cross many external hurdles in this path. Near and dear ones may be against us. There may be financial difficulties. Unless one has lot of energy within to deal with all of this, the target will remain unattainable. Constant work on the spine and the breadth helps one to build up the requisite amount of energy.
  2. Another key area of work is the heart. To work on all dimensions of ones life and cleanse it of impurities is no easy task. It is fraught with lot of heart breaks. Unless one learns to work with ones heart it is not possible to recover from the countless failures one might encounter along the way. A heart deep at peace is absolutely essential. This will help power ones actions through delight. A fully developed heart will keep the individual highly motivated, resilient and most of all in contact with the divine.
Such a person producing such a response (gradually built over many decades of developing self mastery) is worthy of being called a yogi. For, as per Krishnas words 

ya nisha sarva-bhutanam tasyam jagrati samyami
Where all else is asleep, the one who is dissolved in the divine is awake,

There is deep slumber all around. The one who cleanses himself of all impediments like vyaadhi, sthyaana, samsaya et al, can be dissolved in the divine and produces a deep and harmonious response to the situation. That to me is really one of the deepest things in Yoga!

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