POWr Banner Slider

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Perennial Philosophy of Yoga for Modern Man (Series – Authentic Yoga Tradition-2)



Perennial Philosophy of Yoga for Modern Man 

(Series – Authentic Yoga Tradition-2)
By
Acharya Girish Jha, Mentor, Guide and Life Coach
 Yoga begins the moment   human being wills to break the reign of unconsciousness, ignorance and falsehood and aspires for excellence in life. There should be zeal to practice and incorporate yoga in life and as “way of life”.  Tantra yoga says,” when you are eaten up by the zeal to practice yoga, you reach to summit of consciousness very fast, that is all pervading, eternal and dwells within you.”  There is seed of Yoga (as a state of consciousness) much subtler than genes of science always ready to manifest in human life if given the right conditions in life.

Philosophy and Darshan

Yoga philosophy is termed as “Yoga Darshan”. The word “Darshan” means directs perception .Unlike the “Greek word - philosophia, meaning love of wisdom ("the proper understanding about the nature of reality."). Darshan is much more than love for wisdom or philosophy as one becomes what one perceives but wisdom always discriminates the reality with unreality. A step further from wisdom is what Darshan declares, experiments and experiences by Yoga practices.   Yoga ( a state of consciousness) and Darshan ( direct perception) means living, moving and acting in truth, peace, love, wisdom , bliss and pure awareness at all time in life.
Few of many fundamentals of yoga, that makes science and art of Yoga a perennial philosophy, are:
  1. The Essential nature of Human Being is devoid of all sufferings
“Peace is your essential nature”, my Mentor told me when I went to him and asked him, “How to manage stress”. He further said,” What you are experiencing at present is your superficial nature, entered into life due to ignorance.”  “To err is Human to forgive divine” (Alexander Pope in 1688-1744) is what defines human being in the west.  'satyam jnanam anantam brahma'   declares Taittiriya Upanishad- text of yoga. This means that ultimate reality that dwells within us is of the nature of Truth, Absolute Knowledge (non dual) and Infinite. “Sivoham” is very famous phrase means “I am the Absolute Existence- Consciousness-Bliss.” We are all of the Nature of Truth, Pure consciousness, Absolute knowledge, eternal love and bliss. Out of which comes Peace that is also our essential nature.  
  1. Ignorance is   Bliss  or Suffering
American proverb “Ignorance is bliss” is taken very lightly and rather unconsciously in order to avoid many problems and sufferings in life. If Not knowing is bliss, the Homo sapiens were the best on earth. Ignorance is devoid of knowledge and wisdom. Ignorance about one’s essential nature,  I-ness,   or egoism, attachment, aversion to thought patterns or objects, yearning desire to live without knowing why to live are main causes of sufferings, stress, problems in human life (Avidyasmitaragadweshaabhininweshaklesha” -Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.3) , said the father of Eastern Psychology, Patanjali( codifier of Yoga) in more than 2600 years ago. Yoga not only dissolves ignorance but also awakens one to the reality that dwells within, and brings peace, happiness and harmony in life. A life devoted to awakening wisdom within and progressive release from ignorance brings continued happiness in personal, professional, social and spiritual life. Bliss is what the aim of Yoga is by delivering one from all forms of ignorance.
  1.  We are Human + Being- a micro center of evolution
Human in Human Being is circumference and Being is at the center. The “human” consists of ego, intellect, mind, emotions, life, body and the material world while “Being” is at the center is eternal. According to yoga texts, human race evolved out of 8.4 million species. Body and energy (Prana) are fully evolved in human frame. Mind is evolving and there is something yet to evolve. Life evolved out of matter as life was involved in matter. Mind evolved out of life as it was involved in life. If we accept the nature’s evolution, then there is something yet to evolve out of mind in every human being. Yoga evolves this consciously by taking over the entire process of Nature. This “yet to evolve’, yoga calls “Real Self”      or Being. What is very important in Yoga is evolving consciously   to ultimate in order to bring to an end all sufferings in life, and to achieve excellence in speech, thought and action. This eternal philosophy asserts that every human being is eternally pure and good and any one if follows the path of yoga, can transform his life fully. Ratnakar – a dacoit lived around 3000 BC, took the path of Yoga and transformed himself into one the greatest masters and author of book, Ramayana.  Balmiki – as he was known after the transformation.  
 Are you ready to change your life?
The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram wrote, “To know is good; to live is better and to be is the best” that always inspired me to talk and teach yoga to hundreds of people.
I always who comes to practice Yoga,” Do you know peace is good?”
“Yes”, the prompt response, I get
“If peace is good, then you must be living in peace all the time.”
“Oh! No Guruji, how can you live in peace 24X7” students said?
“Then peace is not good at all, how can you claim, peace is ….” I made the query.
I futher add,” Yoga is to bridge the gap between what you know and how you live?. The moment you start working consciously on how to live in peace 24X7, you not only dissolve stress and sufferings from life but also start living in peace.”
 Yoga does not end here as it offers you an opportunity for unlimited growth and evolution by moving further and becoming an epitome of peace. Like Lord Buddha, even his idols emanate peace consciousness, who lived over 2500 years ago.
The next blog we will cover “Evolution of knowledge in yoga: past to present’ (series –Authentic Yoga Tradition-3)
 Contact Acharya Girish Jha at guruji220@gmail.com
Acharya Girish Jha, a master teacher, mentor, guide, and blogger and life coach holds MS, BS, Dip. Yoga, nature cure, Cert. in Research methodology, and Board Certified Professional Counselor (APA). A deep urge for self-discovery inspired to spend yrs. in Himalayas and with many yoga and spiritual traditions. He learnt from more than 100 Himalayan masters, teachers and saints. He has the credit of teaching over 100000 people during the last over 33 years, conducting over 1000 workshops, seminars, and talks, actively conducting res. projects in Asthma, Diabetes, Stress Management, High Altitude Sickness research, meditation and stress management, offered life coaching (integral wisdom with customized practices) to more than   500 couples, conducted over 300 Radio talk shows, anchored over 30 TV serials on Yoga. He has experience of over 28000 hours of teaching (6000 hrs. of life coaching and spiritual counseling), contributed over 200 articles/papers on yoga and yoga research, and developed specialized practices based on conscious evolution and transformation.
He came to USA in 2007 on a high priority visa, now permanent resident has already trained more than 5000 people, life coached & spiritual counseled more than 200 people; Conducted specialized programs for medical doctors of Columbia University, NYC; stress mgmt. program for   doctors & prof. in PA; intensive customized program for inmates in Trenton, NJ; Healthy Aging Program for seniors in senior center, new Brunswick, NJ.  
His designed and developed programs like Turiya Rest Relaxation Prog., Shanti meditation, Personal Transformation Prog., Stress Mgmt. Prog. ( customized as Personal Stress , Youth Stress , Healthy Aging for seniors, and Corporate Stress mgmt. programs) and Life Coaching ( integral wisdom of east and west delivered includes simple, easy and effective tools and practices for conscious evolution and transformation)


  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Origin of Yoga and its journey to America (Series – Authentic Yoga Tradition-1)



Origin of Yoga and its journey to America
(Series – Authentic Yoga Tradition-1)
By
Acharya Girish Jha, Mentor, Guide and Life Coach
Yoga represents a philosophy comprehensive enough to embrace the whole of knowledge, everything that was, is and must be. Yoga is the master of all sciences. By integrating the material and transcendental divine, yoga enables one to lead a balanced life with the optimum level of physical, mental and spiritual well being. Yoga is also the greatest and most difficult of all the arts. It is the discipline in life of coming in conscious contact with the divine or ultimate consciousness- The source. So yoga calls for self-conscious human beings to understand mentally and intellectually its philosophy, to follow it as a path systematically and to experiment within life and experience the new level of consciousness that in the end results in enlightenment.  
History of Yoga in India
The birth of human civilization (oldest) is known as Indus Valley Civilization or Sindhu-Sarswat tradition is as old as 5000 B.C.   The oldest text Rig-Veda is considered to be written prior to 1900 BC, around 3100 BC before Sarswat River went dry in 1900 BC
A beautiful verse from Rig-Veda explains all about Yoga:
When a Yogi has control on his 5 organs of action, 5 organs of perception and mind through the power of Yoga, in this way when he does meditation, then he sees God - (Rig Veda Mantra I, Sukta 93 Mandal 9).
There are as many as 900 texts were written and available during the period until 300 AD, in which references about philosophy, practices of yoga are explained in detail. These texts are classified into two groups- Shruti and Smriti. Shruti are authoritative texts, while Smriti are secondary texts. All these texts prove the continuing of Yoga Tradition during the period of over 8000 years. Following Shruti Texts have many references of philosophy and practices of Yoga: Four Vedas  namely Rig Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sam-Veda and Atharva-Veda , Aryankas( texts written perhaps in forests by masters)  specially Aiterya and Shankhayana ( name of texts), Brahman Granthas( name of texts), Upanishads( 32 out of 108 Upanishad texts essentially belong to Yoga). Following Smriti texts refer about Yoga practices : Dharma Shasta (  27 texts which refers about Yoga), Mahakavyas (the Epics; they include Mahabharata and the Ramayana) – Bhagvad Gita – the famous text is part of Mahabharata has 30 million copies in over 30 languages of the world, Puranas (the fables or writings) –  18 Puranas , Sutras (proverbs or aphorisms) – there are as many as 100 texts under this category explains about Yoga, Agamas (the philosophies; including Mantras, Tantras, and Yantras) –  250 texts , Darsanas (the philosophies; including the Vedanta) – there are total nine divisions out of which six are known as followers of Vedic Principles while rest three are Non-followers of Veda are Jainism, Buddhism, and Charvaka.
 Many great masters during the period beginning from 700 AD until present time have immensely contributed and have written very authentic texts on Yoga. Kabir, Rai Das, Meera, Sahajo Bai, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Mother, Telanga Swami, Swami Rama, Osho, Mahrashi Raman are few of many names who influenced the entire humanity.

Journey of Yoga to America

Swami Vivekananda in 1893, Mastmuni in 1919, Paramhamsa Yoagnanda in 1920, Indra Devi (Russian Born) in 1947, Maharshi Mahesh Yogi in 1960 is few of many who popularized Yoga in different forms and styles in America. The most notable who laid the foundation and awakened the American mind to think beyond their own set paradigms of life was Swami Vivekananda. In 1893, in the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, USA, speech of Swami Vivekananda is well remembered. This marked the beginning of interest of Americans in Indian Philosophy, particularly Yoga. The very first phrase used by Swami Vivekananda, “Sisters and Brothers of America” mesmerized the audience present there.
 According to one conservative estimate over 17 million Americans are practicing one or the other schools of Yoga 2-3 times weekly. Yoga is now a $20 billion dollar industry and is increasing at the rate of 30% annually. The first ever Yoga center was established by two monks of Swami Vivekananda, known as Vedanta Society of Chicago.
Yoga: A science of making a better person
I was asked by an audience in Indonesia, after a lecture on Yoga, “I am a Christian, and can I practice Yoga.”
I was really amused by his question and said,” If you are a Christian and practice Yoga, you become a better Christian. If you are a teacher and practice Yoga, become a better teacher. If you are a husband, practice Yoga, become a better husband.”
Yoga discovers the Real Self (that dwells within every human being) guided by Peace, Harmony, Love, Delight and Wisdom.  And when one discovers and brings these attributes into one’s life, one evolves consciously , drops all his/her inhibitions and awakens inherent latent traits that makes him wiser and wiser , besides attaining physical, mental and emotional well being. That is why, Yoga is also termed as way of life that harmonizes every layers of Human Existence i.e. Body, Life and Mind. A simple query to your self-followed by contemplation as how to be good/better person in personal, professional, social lives will take one to understand the philosophy of yoga and encourages him to practice yoga in order to bring about fundamental changes in life.

The next blog we will cover “Perennial Philosophy of Yoga for Modern Man’ (series –Authentic Yoga Tradition-2)
Contact Acharya Girish Jha at guruji220@gmail.com
Acharya Girish Jha, a master teacher, mentor, guide, and blogger and life coach holds MS, BS, Dip. Yoga, nature cure, Cert. in Research methodology, and Board Certified Professional Counselor (APA). A deep urge for self-discovery inspired to spend yrs. in Himalayas and with many yoga and spiritual traditions. He learnt from more than 100 Himalayan masters, teachers and saints. He has the credit of teaching over 100000 people during the last over 33 years, conducting over 1000 workshops, seminars, and talks, actively conducting res. projects in Asthma, Diabetes, Stress Management, High Altitude Sickness research, meditation and stress management, offered life coaching (integral wisdom with customized practices) to more than   500 couples, conducted over 300 Radio talk shows, anchored over 30 TV serials on Yoga. He has experience of over 28000 hours of teaching (6000 hrs. of life coaching and spiritual counseling), contributed over 200 articles/papers on yoga and yoga research, and developed specialized practices based on conscious evolution and transformation.