Saturday, October 4, 2008


Some aspects of Yoga have been dealt with in an earlier post .
However , it is being dealt with again here in the series of the Six orthodox systems of philosophy for continuity.
Yoga accepts most Samkhya epistemology including the 25 principles and adds one more ie Ishwara or God. Yoga applies the Samkhya to everyday life as mentioned in the Svetasvatara Upanishad , "Samkhya is knowledge , Yoga is practice" .
Yogic practice consists of the eight steps mentioned earlier .
In Yogic philosophy, the Supreme being is eternal ,all pervading and and omniscient and is able to bring about the association of the principles of Prakriti ( later regarded as feminine ) and Purusa ( later regarded as Masculine) which results in the unfolding of the cosmic process . The same Being brings about the dissolution of the universe by seperating the two forces . For centuries yoga taught that there are many levels of consciousness than is generally realised , ( which western philosophy has discovered recently ) and that only when these levels are actually experienced , can man achieve his full physical and psychical potential .
Devotion to God is often considered to be a part of yogic practice, and is believed to be the best means to attain concentration , mind control and the purification of consciousness ,which prepare the way for liberation .

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ganga Aarti at Haridwar

Haridwar is situated at the gateway of the Himalayas where the sacred river Ganga enters the plains .
"Haridwar " means in Sanskrit the gateway to God (Hari) , the Himalayas being the abode of the Gods .

The aarti ( waving of holy lights in clockwise circles ) worship of the Ganga is done here every evening at sunset .

Gratitude is expressed to the river Ganga for sustaining life for 200 million people , a fifth of India's population .

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Literally meaning "enumeration ", it is a system of dualistic realism founded by sage Kapila , and closely related to Yoga . Yoga provides the practical techniques of liberation while Samkhya provides the metaphysical background .

The basic ideas of both are from an ancient pre vedic period , and they were later included in the list of the orthodox systems after they nominally accepted the authority of the Vedas .

Samkhya talks of two ultimate eternal realities - Spirit ( Purusa ) and Nature ( Prakrti). Prakrti is a single all pervasive unconscious complex substance which evolves the world into countless different shapes . Its three main constituents or elements are the Gunas , Sattva , Rajas ,and Tamas ( dealt with earlier ).

The unfolding of a new world occurs when Prakrti and Purusa associate , whereupon Prakrti begins to differentiate .Purusa is non matter or pure spirit , its mere presence activates Prakrti , but Purusa itself remains unchanged .

Samkhya originally lists twenty five tattvas or categories that make up the world .
The first twenty three emerge from Prakrti , the Purusa is the 24rth category and Prakrti is the 25th . Prakrti and Purusa are eternal .
Such a concept did not require a creator god so Samkhya was intially atheistic .Later under the influence of Yoga , a 26th tattva was added called Ishwara or God.
Basically there is only one Purusa , but when manifestation occurs it breaks up into numerous souls , some are liberated others are bound to bodies in nature and go through the cycle of rebirth , in human animal or other forms .
In essence the Spirit is always free , but when bound , it can be liberated from entanglement with matter only through knowledge , virtue , and the practice of Yoga .

The lack of knowledge of the distinction ( viveka) between Self and non Self , is the cause of suffering rooted in material existence .
When liberation is attained by spiritual training , the individual self ceases to be affected by life's vicissitudes and obeserves the world with dispassion . Liberation may be attained in this life ( Jivanmukti ) or inthe next world (Videhamukti). When finally released from the psycho physical organism ( including the intellect ) , the spirit remains eternally unconscious.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Founded by Kanada , 100 AD , with the work Vaisesika Sutras .

Initially atheistic , the system talked of an atomised universe like the Buddhists and Jains . Later when it joined hands with the Nyaya boths systems became theistic .

As per the Vaisesika , everything in the world is composed of atoms , except soul , consciousness , time , space and the mind . The atoms being uncreated , invisible , eternal . When the world dissolves the atoms exist individually .

During this interim period , good and bad karma remain latent , until objects in the universe begin to form again through various combinations of atoms , in a cyclical process .

When the systems of Nyaya and Vaisesika becaome theistic , God was introduced as the Supreme Soul , Paramatman ,who became a secondary Creator , creating worlds from eternally existing matter .