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Samkhya & Yoga

9 Apr 2022 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy

Samkhya & Yoga

Both Samkhya and yoga aim at reserving the process of awareness which at present is identified with the senses and the external objects. That awareness has to be disassociated from the objects and redirected internally to experience our spiritual nature. That experience of Purusha, the pure consciousness, may be termed as Samadhi, mokshya, nirvana, self-realization or union with the higher self. However the problem is that we identify with the sensory objects that give us pleasure. We condition ourselves to think that we are not able to live without these objects, and this is the beginning of attachment asakti. The association of the mind and senses with an external object creates attachment. Attachment is a strong magnetic force which holds the mind down to the experiences of the pleasure that  we are searching for  through  our  senses . The time comes when we suddenly find that all of the attachments in life serve no purpose, because one day we have to leave them.

In yoga, that experiences is known as abhinivesha, the fear of disconnection. The moment we realize that we are going to be disconnected form out kith and kin, society and family, body and mind, and that we, as we know ourselves to be , will cease to exist, fear arises. Abhinivesha is mentioned in Patanjali`s yoga Sutras and is often translated as the fear of death, but it is more than that; it is the fear of disconnection.

The fear of disconnection arises because we are tamasic by nature. Tamas has to be understood in the right perspective. Tamas is not bad or negative things; it is a conditioned state of existence. For example, a lump of clay can be shaped into a pot. Once it takes that form it is identified as a pot and not a lump of clay can be shaped into a pot. Once it takes that form it is identified as a pot and not a lump of clay. The experience of identifying ourselves with our conditioned nature, and the inability to extricate the awareness from that limited nature is known as tamas. The quality of tamas express itself throughout life in the form of different psychological, social and religious conditionings. Tamas creates the belief patterns which we have to struggle to change, overcome or transcend as we develop.

Tamas itself is  not negatice, but negativity is an expression of this conditioning when change is  rejected. Aggressive reaction to change is identified as a negative outcome of the tamasic conditioning. The principles of Samkhya and yoga aim at understanding how we are conditioned. Because we are in tamas as long we are in this body, and cannot live without tamas, we need to understand the components of life and existence which interact with each other and thale us through the various conditionings.  Samkhya and Yoga give us an understanding of this process, and help to free us  from the impressions created by the conditioning of tamas, rajas, and sattwa are known as samskaras. Or, to put it another way, samskaras are an expression of the unconditioned state of tamas, rajas, and sattwa.

Understanding of Samkhya

We have to work through the samskaras in pratyahara and dharana meditation to be experiencing the higher levels of consciousness. In this process, yoga is the practical aspect and Samkhya is the theoretical aspect. Yoga is influenced by Samkhya. Sage Patanjali, who codified the system of raja yoga, is also considered to be an exponent of the Samkhya tradition. In the past, there were eighteen schools of Samkhya.

Just as yoga is popular today, Samkhya was once a popular system because it gave an understanding of how we become conditioned and how we free ourselves from that conditioning.

Samkhya gives us an understanding of how the senses work, how the mental states interact with the senses and of the nature, interplay and attributes of the gunas at an individual and cosmic level. It gives an understanding of the relationship between the mind, ego, and higher intellect. Samkhya gives an understanding of the manifest, vyakta and the unmanifest, avyakta, demensions, and how as human beings our consciousness and mind interact in these various dimensions.

Some time ago, the scientists discovered that the entire universe is comprised of only 5% white matter and the remaining 95% is black matter. So , from the scientific point of view, the universe is created of white matter and black matter. This is what yoga and Samkhya have been talking about, but in different terminology. The black matter that they talk about in different terminology. The black matter that they about in science is the moola prakriti, the primordial energy, the primordial source in which everything is fused, like a seed. The seed has the possibility of developing into a tree, but if you look at the seed, you cannot see the leaves, the wood, the flowers, and fruits, although the potential exists.

The potential inherent in the seed is actualized when the conditions are right. In order to actualize when the condition are right. In order to actualize  the potential of the seed, you have to plant it at the right time. If you provide water, compost and protection, the potential of  the seed will be seen as a small sprout, which will eventually grow into a big tree. But the inherent potential of the seed will not manifest unless the condition are right. In the same way, the moola prakriti, or the dark matter, contains Prakriti, the potential of creation and individual identity, as well as Purusha, the unified awareness or God. Everything is within it. The 5% of white matter is the ever- expanding manifest universe, the created aspect that we experience through our instruments, body, senses, mind and ego.

This understanding is important because it creates awareness of another dimension of existence beyond the body. The material body is only one expression of the total life; the insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals all have bodies. All these different life forms are expressions of that cosmic force known as moola prakriti , the primal energy, interacting in this world and taking different forms. When the form is dissolved, the association with the objective world is severed. Then the consciousness becomes free to experience another dimension of life, to express itself in another dimension of existence, and this is known as evolution.

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