Tag Archives: Sankhya

Sankhya-yoga Teacher’s Training Course at Jiva

This is the last opportunity to register for this forthcoming course starting on March 1st. Please find the details below:

This Teacher’s Training Course provides you with sufficient knowledge and experience to become a successful yoga teacher and you can also opt to do advanced courses in the future to master yoga further. We do not follow a specific ‘type’ of yoga but instead, we practice ‘sankhya-yoga’, which aims to integrate yogic theory and physical practice (asana) to the maximum extent. Maharishi Patanjali, the founder of yoga, prescribed certain rules for humans to follow to be productive members of society, and he prescribed a code of conduct that we try to inculcate among students through a systematic understanding of the same.

 

Jiva Institute for Vedic Studies in Vrindavan

Location

This course will take place in Vrindavan (160 km from Delhi), a small town located on the banks of the sacred river Yamuna. Vrindavan is one of the seven most sacred towns in India, due to its association with Lord Shri Krishna and where some of the greatest yogis and devotees have spent a part of their lives to attain knowledge and enlightenment. Vrindavan is a global village, where Krishna devotees from almost every corner of the world live and enjoy its devotional charm. The course venue is pleasant and offers hassle-free accommodations, along with convenient access to main attractions and local markets.

Jiva dining hallIt is conducted by the Jiva Institute (Ashram), which is well known for its scholarly activities and promotion of bhakti yoga and Vaishnava culture through a scientific and formal approach. The Jiva Institute has a global character, as devotees from around the world visit to study ancient Indian texts and philosophy.

 

Our Teachers

The yoga course is taught by highly qualified teachers under the guidance of respected Babaji, who is an authority on the Sankhya-yoga philosophical system.

The teachers for this course are from very diverse fields of knowledge. Most of them have lived in Vrindavan for a long time and are familiar with traditional Indian cultural values, Vedic scriptures; such as the Bhagavad Gita, and the essence of various aspects of yoga. In addition to this course, our teachers will be available for exploring the surroundings of Vrindavan.

Satyanarayana Dasa (Babaji)

Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

Born in India in 1954, Satyanarayana Dasa was drawn to the spiritual traditions of his native country from a young age. After receiving a postgraduate degree in 1978 from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and working in the United States for four years, he returned to India,

where he studied the formal systems of Indian philosophy known as Sad-darsana), under the direct guidance of his guru, Sri Haridas Sastri Maharaja, and Swami Sarana Maharaja. Satyanarayana Dasa was formally educated for more than twenty-five years, while he dedicated himself to becoming a bhakti-yoga practitioner. In 1991, he accepted the traditional Vaisnava order of a renounced life, babaji-vesa. His main focus has been the work of Jīva Gosvāmī. In particular, he has been translating the Sat Sandarbhas into English and providing commentary. He also earned four shastric degrees and received both a law degree and a Ph.D. in Sanskrit from Agra University. Satyanarayana Dasa is the founder and director of the Jīva Institute of Vaishnava Studies in Vrindavan. He has authored eighteen books on Indian culture and philosophy and contributed several important essays to many prestigious journals. In 2013, he was honored by the president of India, Sri Pranab Mukherjee, for his extraordinary contribution in presenting Vedic culture and philosophy, both nationally and internationally. In 2015, he was officially installed as the Mahanta of the Jiva Institute. He has a long practical experience in teaching ancient Yogic texts to international and Indian scholars.

 

Aami Kristal

Krsna DasAami (Krishna Dasa) taught traditional Hatha yoga at the Patanjali Yoga Foundation. He has been practicing and teaching yoga and wellness for over ten years. He is an Ayurvedic nutritional consultant, specializing in dosha balance, Theta Healing technique, and Bio re-programming seed. He is also a Vedic astrologer from the royal lineage of Jagannath Puri.

He has gained experience in the field of sustainable development by working with indigenous communities in South America, which has taught him different self-healing techniques and introspection. He founded the World Conscious Pact, the University of Ancestral Wisdom, the United Nations of the Spirit, the Global Eco-Villages Network, and the Council of Sustainable Settlements of the Americas. He has a long practical experience in teaching ancient yogic postures, their correct positions and their importance in yoga sadhana.

He now resides in Vrindavan, where he is currently studying the Vedic scriptures under the guidance of his Guru, Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji.

 

Ekaterina

KantaEkaterina (Kanta Dasi) is a Hatha yoga and meditation instructor. Her mother was a yoga teacher, and Ekaterina has been practicing since 2006. She is a graduate of the School of Patanjali in Rishikesh and has studied with well-known Russian yoga masters, such as Dmitry Demin, Gleb Mazaev, and Maxim Tsuguy. She has been a yoga and fitness teacher in leading fitness centers in Belarus since 2016, and she has been conducting online yoga courses in European countries. Since 2020 Ekaterina has been teaching yoga and spinal therapy in Belarus, Israel, Russia, and Ukraine.

 

Jaya Devi

JayaJaya Devi is the co-coordinator of the Jiva Institute’s yoga course and has been living in India for the past 20 years. She serves as a friendly mentor for all the foreign students who study in Vrindavan. She also coordinates the extracurricular activities in and around Vrindavan. She has a good knowledge of Indian spiritual heritage and a PhD in Sanskrit. She is the author of From Taj to Vraj, a book on feminine spirituality.

 

 

Dauji Das
DaujiDauji is your Vrindavan Tour guide. Originally from the United Kingdom, he now resides at the Jīva Institute. He is an editor and publisher of Bhakti books. He is available for free consultation on any extracurricular matter.

 

 

Stay and surroundings

The Ashram is located in a clean, pollution-free, hygienic atmosphere, and the course venue is managed by an efficient hospitality staff to look after accommodations, food, and travel arrangements. Surroundings offer ample opportunities to visit important temples and ashrams throughout Vrindavan. The institute is well-furnished and clean with the following facilities.

  • Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms with attached toilets and hot water
  • Clean drinking water (RO)
  • Full wi-fi campus
  • Hot water (Geyser) in all bathrooms
  • 24/7 support staff
  • Sattvik cafeteria serving nutritious vegetarian food at economic prices
  • Travel-related services to explore nearby places
  • Garden and green surroundings
  • Library (with a rich collection of books on various relevant subjects)
  • Spacious dining hall for regular meals
  • Located in the heart of Vrindavan (most attractions at walking distance)
  • Spacious yoga hall
  • In-house beautiful temple with daily kirtan and discourses on Bhagavad Gita (anyone can join freely)

Course Fee

Our yoga teachers training (YTT) program is a residential course. The fee of USD 1650 per person includes accommodations (private room with private bathroom) and all vegetarian meals at the institute. The registration fee is USD 200 (nonrefundable advance) to be submitted along with the application. The remaining fee can be paid upon arrival. In case of emergency and other unavoidable circumstances, we may permit students to opt for the same course within the period of two years.

Calendar (Course Dates)

  • 1 March to 28 March 2023
  • 1 April to 28 April 2023

Daily Schedule – (200-Hours Yoga Teacher Training)

Our YTT program follows a well-planned schedule and about 6 to 7 training hours daily are assigned to learning different aspects of yoga. Our daily schedule begins as early as 5:30 a.m. with a short meditation followed by yogic postures and classes in philosophy, anatomy, and physiology. Students can also enjoy excursions to nearby places in their free time. During the course, vegetarian meals suitable for a Yogic lifestyle will be served along with seasonal fruits and herbal tea. Home assignments are also given to students during the course to enable them to cultivate insight into the subject.

Pranayama 7-7:45 -15 break

Yoga 8-9:30

10:00 -Tiny breakfast

11:30 -12:30 Babaji class / Anatomy

12:30-14:00 lunch

14:00-15:00 discussion / yoga Philosophy

15:00-17:00 free time

17:00-19:00 methodology and alignments

19:30-20:30 Dinner

20:30-21:00 meditation

Syllabus of Yoga teachers Training Course

Shatkarma

(Internal body Cleansing activities)

These ancient yogic cleansing techniques are practiced for the purification of the body. There are six Shatkarmas in the Hatha tradition. They are used to help clear the body of excess mucus, fat, and bile, and should only be practiced under the guidance of a competent teacher. During the course on special days these Shatkarmas will be demonstrated and taught to participants as after practicing Shatkarma,one need to have especially very light food and rest for a while.
Asanas (Physical Postures) There are 84 asanas in the Hatha tradition. These poses are used to steady the body and mind, making the practitioner more energetic, free from disease, and ready for the practice of meditation. These are often the most familiar part of yoga tradition in the modern world.

Pranayamas

(Breathing techniques)

These practices utilize breathing to control and influence the flow of vital life force (prana) in the body. Pranayamas are practiced after asana practice. They should be practiced under the guidance of a competent teacher, as the effects of these techniques on the body can be quite powerful.

Meditation

 

(Dhyan)

Dhyana, or meditation, is the practice of calming the mind and body through controlling the thoughts, calming the senses, and deep concentration. There are many ancient yogic meditation practices, designed to bring the practitioner closer to spiritual awareness and understanding. After knowing different meditation techniques, you can find the most suitable one for yourself to practice regularly.

Mudras

 

 

Mudras are advanced yogic postures/techniques that alter mood, attitude, and perception, thereby deepening awareness and concentration. They have a subtle but powerful effect on energy flow in the body and thus are a good preparation for deeper spiritual practices.

Bandhas

 

Bandhas are bodily locks that help to redirect the flow of energy in the body. They involve locking the chin, abdomen, and perennial region. As they are an advanced practice, they are best practiced individually under able instruction before being incorporated into other yogic practices.
Sankhya-Yoga Philosophy A successful yoga practice absolutely depends on the proper understanding of the ancient yoga philosophies as described in the two schools of Indian yoga philosophy below. Sankhya explains the eternal principles and yoga teaches the way to achieve the goals prescribed in Sankhya philosophy.
Yoga System (of Patanjali) Yoga – An Introduction to yoga and its basic elements
Different types of yoga – Karma, Jñāna and Bhakti
Concept of Atma , Consciousness and awareness Yama, Niyama (Principles of hygienic, regulated and socially acceptable lifestyle including Shatkarma)
Pranayama (healthy breathing )
Pratyahara (Self control )
Dharna (contemplation ), Dhyana (meditation), Samadhi (transcognitive state)
Sankhya (Wisdom) System of Kapila Evolution of world due to interaction between Purusha (Self) and Prakarti (Nature). The inevitability of understanding the distinction between body, mind, Consciousness, Chitta, Ego and Self for progress in spiritual life.
Anatomy& Physiology related to Yoga It’s important for yoga teachers to understand the movements and composition of the human body, as well as working of the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems. This knowledge will help teachers to address the safety concerns of students and give proper adjustments while helping students understand the full benefits and limitations of their practice.
Theory of Panch Kosha(Five layers believed to be covering the Atma)

1.     Aannamaya kosha, “foodstuff” sheath (Anna)

2.     Pranamaya kosha, “energy” sheath (Prana/apana)

3.     Manomaya kosha “mind-stuff” sheath (Manas)

4.     Vijnanamaya kosha, “wisdom” sheath (Vijnana)

5.     Anandamaya kosha, “bliss” sheath (Ananda)

 

 

Ayurveda

(Classic Indian System of well-being)

 

Ayurveda, literally meaning ‘the science of life,’ is an ancient tradition of healing the body through awareness of the functions of the three Gunas (mental dispositions: Sattva, Raja and Tamas)– both the internal and external functions. It encompasses nutrition and massage therapy that is practiced to improve the overall well-being of the body and mind.

 

Teaching methodology for Yoga Guidance for becoming a successful Yoga teacher: The art of speaking and performing asanas in a classroom setting.

Shri Bhagavad Gita

 

This ancient text is one of the most important books for understanding yoga, as it outlines the origins of yoga philosophy as passed down through the centuries. A solid understanding of this scripture is necessary for anyone interested in the yoga traditions. Explanation of Sankhya-yoga Philosophy as described by lord Krishna in Shrimad Bhagavad Gita

Detailed syllabus and description

Days Anatomy Philosophy
1 Spine upper 7 Ha-tha+Meru+Surya Namaskar
Spine middle 12
Spine Under  6
2 Feet to Hips (Bones-Musles) Muladhara/Swadishtana
  Feet to Hips (Bones-Musles) Muladhara/Swadishtana
3 Organs Manipuraka/Anahata
4 Upper part to neck (Bones-Musles) Vishuddha/Ajna
5 Respiratory System Sahasrara/Patanjali yoga sutras 1
6 Circulatory System Patanjali yoga sutras 2/History of Yoga

Every Day Practice

Day Bhagavad Gita Pranayamas and Sat Kriyas Meditations
1 Cap 1 (1-13) Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Om Meditation
2 Cap 1 (14-27) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Tratak Meditation
3 Cap 1 (27-40) Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Silence Meditation
4

Cap 1 (40-47)

Cap 2 (1-6)

Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Sound Meditation
5 Cap 2 (7-20) Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Kirtan Meditation
6 Cap 2 (21-34) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Walking meditation
7 Cap 2 (35-48) Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Om Meditation
8 Cap 2 (49-61) Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Tratak Meditation
9

Cap 2 (62-72)

Cap 3 (1-3)

Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Silence Meditation
10 Cap 3 (4-17) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Sound Meditation
11 Cap 3 (18-31) Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Kirtan Meditation
12

Cap 3 (32-43)

Cap 4 (1-2)

Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Walking meditation
13 Cap 4 (3-16) Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Om Meditation
14 Cap 4 (17-30) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Tratak Meditation
15

Cap 4 (31-42)

Cap 5 (1-2)

Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Silence Meditation
16 Cap 5 (3-16) Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Sound Meditation
17

Cap 5 (17-29)

Cap 6 (1)

Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Kirtan Meditation
18 Cap 6 (2-15) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Walking meditation
19 Cap 6 (16-29) Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Om Meditation
20 Cap 6 (30- 43) Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Tratak Meditation
21

Cap 6 (44-47)

Cap 7 (1-10)

Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha. Silence Meditation
22 Cap 7 (11-24) Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Jalandhar Bandha, Mahabandha. Sound Meditation
23

Cap 7 (25-30)

Cap 8 (1-8)

Yogic Breathing, Shitkari, Shitali, Agnisar Dhauti, Nauli Kirtan Meditation
24 Cap 8 (9- 22) Yogic Breathing, Neti, Ujjay, Bhramari. Walking meditation
25 Cap 8 (23-28) Yogic Breathing, Kapalabhati, Bhastrika,Maha Bandha, Bhramari. Tratak Meditation
26 Exam about Gita Yogic Breathing, Anuloma-Viloma, Nadisodhana, Maha Bandha, Ujjay Kirtan Meditation
contact details:
info@jivaseva.com
Jaya@jivaseva.com

The Ontology of the Jīva – Part 1

By Satyanarayana Dasa

This article describes the nature of the individual living being (jīva). It is based on a commentary on verses three through seven of the 26th Chapter of the Third Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam by Śri Vīrarāghava Ācārya of the Śrī-sampradāya. I have included my own explanatory statements where required.

In this chapter of the Bhāgavatam, Lord Kapila describes Sāṅkhya Philosophy to his mother Devahūti. The basic principle of Sāṅkhya is the distinction between prakṛti (matter) and puruṣa (the conscious living being, which includes both the jīva and Paramātma.) In the first two verses of this chapter, Lord Kapila informs his mother about the importance of Sāṅkhya.  In the third through eighth verses, he describes the puruṣa. From verse ten until the end of the chapter, he describes prakṛti.

 

Bhāgavatam 3.26.3

 anādir ātmā puruṣo
nirgu
ṇaḥ prakṛteḥ para
pratyag-dh
āmā svayaṁ-jyotir
vi
śvaṁ yena samanvitam

“The ātma is the puruṣa who has no beginning, is beyond the senses and free from the guṇas of material nature. He is transcendental to prakṛti. He is conscious, self-effulgent, has a spiritual abode, and pervades the universe.

In this and the next verse, Lord Kapila clarifies the nature of jīva / ātma, distinguishing him from prakṛti.

The word puruṣa means jīva. The two characteristic features of the jīva’s nature are described by the words svayaṁ-jyoti and pratyag-dhāmā.

Svayaṁ-jyoti means self-luminous. In other words, it describes something that illuminates itself and other things, just like a lamp illuminates itself and the objects around it. Objects which produce no illumination (like a table, for example) require a light to shine on them before they can be perceived. But we do not need another lamp to see a lamp, it illuminates itself. It is “svayaṁ-jyoti.

Then, is ātmā like an ordinary, insentient lamp? Lord Kapila answers this by using the term pratyag-dhāmā. Ātmā is not insentient, he is conscious by nature. That which reveals to itself it called pratyak (conscious). Inert things are not revealed to themselves, they are revealed to others – thus earning the title parāk (inert, insentient). The word pratyag-dhāmā describes the ātmā as an entity inherently and naturally aware of himself. The categorical difference between ātmā and other luminous things like lamps, is that ātmā is a sentient illumination. To make this point, ātma is often described as jñāna svarūpa (“an entity who is constitutionally full of awareness”).

The term pratyag-dhāmā establishes that consciousness is the intrinsic nature of ātmā . The term svayam jyoti specifies that sentience (jñāna – “knowledge, awareness”)  is an attribute of ātmā . This is why ātmā can also be described as jñāna guṇaka (“an entity who possesses awareness”). Ātmā is conscious by nature, and also possesses consciousness as a quality. This stands in opposition to the Advaita-vada concept that the pure ātmā is merely consciousness which does not exhibit the quality of consciousness.

This is similar to a candle situated in one place with a flame two inches high. The flame is pratyag-dhāma (intrinsically full of luminosity) and the effulgence is svayam jyoti (the illumination it possesses). The effulgence of the candle illuminates the objects around it, and the flame illuminates itself. Consciousness as the attribute of ātmā illuminates objects around him by his own effulgence, svayaṁ-jyoti. Consciousness as the intrinsic nature of ātmā reveals itself to itself, pratyag-dhāma. Ātmā is both pratyag-dhāma and svayam-jyoti – the illuminator of himself and the illuminator of other things.

To summarize, the difference between the light of ātmā and the light of a candle is that the light of a candle can only reveal objects to a third-party observer, not to itself (it is “parāg-dhāmā”) but ātma is the observer of the objects he reveals, which includes the ātmā himself. Both the candle and the ātmā possess luminosity (svayam-jyoti), but only ātmā is a conscious observer, aware of himself (pratyag-dhāmā).

Ātmā is distinct from insentient luminous objects because he is sentient (jñāna svarūpa / pratyag-dhāmā) and utilizes his consciousness to comprehend himself and the objects around him (jñāna guṇa / svayam jyoti).

Lord Kapila also describes ātmā as “beyond prakṛti” (prakṛteḥ para). By his very nature, ātmā is completely distinct from the evolutes of prakṛti – the body, senses, mind and vital airs. That is why Lord Kapila also describes him as nirguṇa, devoid of the guṇas of prakṛti, such as sattva, rajas and tamas. Lord Kapila describes the ātmā as “pervading everything” because ātmā  enters into a physical body and sustains it. He therefore pervades the entire universe of gross and subtle bodies beginning from Brahmā, down to a blade of grass.

Lord Kapila uses the singular case in the word yena to refer to the ātmā as a class of puruṣa. This does not imply, as Advaita-vāda claims, that there is only one ātmā . One entity can represent an entire class, just as it is said, “One grain of rice nourished the whole of humanity.” The use of this grammar expresses that all bodies – devas etc. – are pervaded by a singular type of entity, the very subtle ātmā.

Bhāgavatam 3.26.4

 sa eṣa prakṛtiṁ sūkṣmāṁ
daivīṁ guṇamayīṁ vibhu
yadṛcchayaivopagatām
abhyapadyata līlayā

“Although he is very powerful, that ātma became attracted to the divine qualities of subtle prakṛti, and moved towards her. Prakṛti reciprocated by approaching the ātma, as was the will of the Lord.”

The previous verse described that the ātmā pervades all the material bodies in the universe, is very subtle, and has no beginning. In this verse, the words sa eṣa refer to the ātmā under discussion. Vibhu (lit., all-pervading) is an adjective describing ātmā as an entity capable to pervade all types of bodies, as a result of being very subtle. Since the ātmā is especially “subtle”, he must be distinct from the body and mind. He is not born when the body he adopts is born, nor does he die when that body dies. Only the body takes birth and dies, not the ātmā .

After hearing this, a doubt may arise: “If the ātmā does not take birth along with the body, then why do we experience oneness between body and  ātmā such that we feel and express things like, I am a deva, I am a human being, I am fat, etc.?”

The current verse answers this doubt. The characteristics of a body – such as ‘I am a deva, I am fat’ – are superimposed onto ātma as an outcome of the good and bad deeds done in the past. Therefore, ātmā is not born along with the body. To make this clear, Lord Kapila says that when a dreaming person wakes up, everything in the dream is destroyed, but the dreamer himself is unharmed. Similarly when the ātmā awakens from the dream of identification with the body, the body is destroyed but the ātmā is not.

But a doubt remains: “Since the ātmā is so distinct from the body and world, how can he interact with the world and enjoy or suffer the results of actions? Since ātmā and prakṛti are fundamentally different entities, how can they interact and have union?”

Lord Kapila answers by saying that prakṛti grants the ātmā a sense of being an active agent in her world. He will explain in the next verse how this allows ātmā and prakṛti to develop a union.

The current verse describes prakṛti with the adjective sūkṣmāṁ (lit. subtle), indicating prakṛti in a very subtle state in which there is no possibility of divisions by name or form. Therefore, we understand that the verse describes a condition at the beginning of creation, because it is only then that prakṛti exists in subtle, un-manifest state (sūkṣmām). In other words, the relationship between the ātmā and prakṛti did not occur at a particular time in history. It happened prior to the activation of the modes by time – and is therefore beginningless (anādi).

Universal dissolution destroys only the gross and subtle bodies of the ātmās, who enter unharmed into the body of Lord Viṣṇu. But the accumulated karma (sancita) of each ātmā persists even during the period of dissolution. At the next creation, Viṣṇu injects those ātmās  into prakṛti again by His glance.  This is the meaning of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s statement that He impregnates prakṛti (Gīta 14.2):

“Material nature (Brahman) is My great womb wherein I place the seed of all beings. From that, O descendent of Bharata, follows the birth of all beings.”

At that time, prakṛti is in its subtle state (sūkṣma) and functions according to the līla of Lord Viṣṇu (daivim).

(to be continued)

Indian Schools of Philosophy and Theology

By Satyanarayana Dasa

Indian civilization is the oldest living civilization in the world. The reason for it to survive even after being subject to the onslaught of foreign invaders and rulers for thousands of years is its roots that are grounded in philosophy. The very word Bharata means the land where people are devoted (rata) to enlightenment (Bha).  Indian philosophy is typically divided along two main lines, astika (orthodox or theistic) and nastika (unorthodox or atheistic). Buddhist, Jain, and Carvaka philosophies are unorthodox because they do not accept the authority of the Vedas. The Vedas are commonly accepted by their adherents as having originally emanated from God. Therefore in the Indian tradition, any system of thought not grounded in the Vedas, even if it includes belief in God or gods, is considered atheistic, nastika.

The astika schools, originally called sanatana dharma, are collectively referred to as Hinduism in modern times. Hinduism consist s of six systems of philosophy and theology. These are Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Yoga, Samkhya, Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta. Each school has a set of sutras or aphorisms that forms its nucleus and gives the essential teaching of the school.  The first four of these schools accept the authority of the Vedas, but do not derive their philosophical principles from the statements of the Vedas. They are based on the teachings of individual Rishis or sages.

The last two schools, i.e. Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta, however, base their theological systems specifically on the statements of the Vedas. The four Vedas, namely the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva, are each divided into four parts known as Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad. The first two parts are predominantly ritualistic. The Aranyakas mark the shift from ritual to theology, which finds its culmination in the Upanishads. The Purva Mimamsa, (lit. “the earlier deliberation”) bases its principles on the earlier (purva) parts of the Vedas, namely the Samhitas and Brahmanas. Vedanta (lit. “the last part of the Vedas”) is the study of the later parts i.e. the Upanishads), and therefore,  is also called the Uttara Mimamsa, or the later deliberation.

Here is a brief overview of these six systems of thought:

1. Sankhya

Kapila Muni is the founder of this system. Sankhya accepts two basic tattvas or principles i.e. prakriti or primordial matter, and purusha or individual conscious being. The purusha, also called atma, is immutable, eternal and conscious by its very nature. Prakriti is inert and undergoes modifications while in association with a purusha. It evolves from subtle to gross, and manifests the visible world. The first modification of prakriti is called Mahat or the cosmic intelligence. This further evolves into ahankara or ego. Ahankara gives rise to mind, five cognitive senses, five working senses, five tanmatras or subtle elements that further evolve into akasha or space, vayu or gases, tejas or heat and light, jalam or liquids, and prithvi or solid objects.  The central idea in this system is that a living being can become free from ignorance by understanding that purusha is distinct from the twenty-four elements that constitute matter.

2. Yoga

Yoga accepts the twenty five principles of Sankhya school along with Isvara or God as the twenty-sixth. Yoga gives the practical steps to realize the purusha distinct from prakriti. This system was founded by Hiranygarbha and later systematized and propagated by the sage Patanjali. He defines yoga as cessation of all mental modifications. To attain this state he gives eight steps, hence this system is also called astanga (lit. eight limbed) yoga. These are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

3. Nyaya

This is also called Indian system of logic.  It is known for its five step syllogism. It states that there are sixteen padarthas or categories knowing which one can attain the ultimate goal of liberation. The sixteen padarthas are pramana, prameya, samshaya, prayojana, drishtanta, siddhanata, avayava, tarka, nirnaya, vada, jalpa, vitanda, hetvabhasa, chala, jati, and nigraha-sthana. Most of these categories are related with logic and debating. Nyaya was propounded by Gautama Muni.

4. Vaisheshika

This system was developed by sage Kanada. He taught that there are seven padarthas or ontological entities and understanding these leads to self-realization. Kanada also postulated that the world is made of atoms (paramanu). The seven padarthas are dravya (substance), guna (quality), karma (movement), samanya (generality), vishesha (speciality), samavaya (inherence),  and abhava (non-existence).

5. Purva Mimamsa

This system was propagated by sage Jaimini, a disciple of Veda Vyasa. It says that the essence of the Vedas is dharma. Dharma means the commandments found in the Vedas which are mainly in the form of yajnas. By the execution of dharma one earns merit which leads one to heaven after death. One will live happily in heaven without facing any miseries. If one does not follow one’s dharma or prescribed duties, then one incurs sin and as a consequence suffers in hell.

6. Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta

Vedanta was taught by Veda Vyasa, the compiler of the Vedas. It refutes the conclusion of Purva Mimasa and states that the essential teaching of the Vedas is to realize Brahman, the Absolute Truth, and not the dharma in the form of injunctions. It has two branches—personal and impersonal. In the former, devotion to a Personal God is the means to perfection. In the latter, one realizes oneself as the all-pervading, impersonal Absolute Truth. Vedanta is the most popular of all the schools.

The six systems are generally paired into three groups, Sankhya and Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika, and Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta. However, Vedanta is widely accepted as the apex of all six systems because it deals exclusively with the Absolute Truth and explains the Reality most consistently. It is the only school that has maintained its relevance through the modern era, even though Yoga is also popular now. There are various schools of thought within Vedanta, which can all be categorized into two divisions: impersonal and personal.

Impersonalism & Personalism

According to the impersonal school called Advaita-vada, the Absolute Truth or Brahman is formless and devoid of any attributes. It is eternal and conscious. Brahman is the only reality. The phenomenal world is an illusion and is perceived out of ignorance of Brahman. Individual beings are non-different from Brahman.

In contrast to it, the personal school says that the Absolute Truth is a person, and is designated as Bhagavan or Purusottama. He has a spiritual form and many variegated attributes. The impersonal feature described above is but the brilliant light emanating from the transcendental body of this Absolute Person. The world, being a creation of Bhagavan, is real but undergoes cycles of creation and dissolution. The individual beings (jivas) are part of Bhagavan’s potency and can never be absolutely non-different from Him.

Utility of Six Schools in Modern Times

devotee studyingEvery human being , irrespective of one’s background, gender or belief system , suffers from three types of miseries namely those coming from one’s own body and mind, those caused by other living beings (such as terrorists, mosquitoes, ferocious animals, etc.), and those meted out by nature (such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, etc.).  The root cause of all suffering is ignorance of one’s self. We know a lot about things around us but hardly anything about ourselves.

The basic inspiration behind each philosophical system has been to make the individual being free from suffering. By the study of these systems one’s outlook about life and the world expands and by following the process prescribed by them, such as by Yoga or Vedanta, one can become peaceful and happy in any situation.

Modern life is full of anxiety and stress. Most of the diseases spring from stress, wrong lifestyle, improper diet, etc., which are all rooted in ignorance of our selves. Modern education trains one to earn wealth but not how to use it beneficially. It gives facility to live comfortably but does not teach how to live. It gives knowledge but does not inform about its purpose. In other words, the modern education does not bring fulfillment in life. If the knowledge of Hindu systems is added to the present education, one will be able to lead a better life in all respects, be it economic, social, political or spiritual. The evils of society such as corruption, crime, family disunity, exploitation, etc., will be uprooted if people are trained in Indian knowledge systems, especially Vedanta. These systems have been used for thousands of years in the past and brought glories to India. The glory of India faded when its traditional knowledge systems were uprooted, but if it takes advantage of its indigenous knowledge systems it can inspire the whole world.

Questions on Sankhya and Buddhism

Question:  I have studied Sankhya very briefly as part of another course I took at the Hindu University and I have been interested in it ever since. Your notes on the topic are very clear, but I have some questions.

Lesson 12 says: “The appearance of an effect is only its passage from potentiality to actuality.  It needs some helping conditions (sahakari karana) and a sentient person (nimitta karana) to transform.  Is this suggesting that effects only happen when a sentient being is involved?  It seems that such changes occur without the intervention sentient beings.  What am I missing?  But, Purusha is sentient, right?   Maybe it’s the term “person” that is throwing me off.  Yet still, can NO change happen without a sentient person?

Answer: According to Sankhya, change happens when prakriti and purusha (person) come together. Without purusha there is no modification in prakriti. So no change can occur without purusha who is sentient.

Question: You describe change: “When any change is in a potential state, it is called future, when the change is manifest it is called present, when it become latent again, it is called past.  Sankhya does not admit the existence of time as an independent entity.”  I do not understand the second sentence.  Does this means that time is not moving independently of the changes that are occurring?  In other words, if change stops, time does also?  “Time” is really just a way to talk about the constantly changing universe?

Answer: Time does not move, but we feel it by the change in prakriti. In Sankhya, time is not an independent entity. It is the change in prakriti. If you do not perceive change, you do not perceive time. That is why we can perceive time differently. When in a happy situation, time seems to pass quickly. If you cannot sleep at night, time seems to be not passing at all. For our mutual dealings, we have standardized time, not just depending on our feelings. The basis for time on earth is its movement in relation to the sun.

Question: I do not understand what you say about Buddhism.  Buddhism holds to the theory of an ever changing universe.  “But their change has no background.  Every change is absolutely a new one.  And when the change is in the past, the next moment the change is lost absolutely.  There are only passing manifestations of forms and qualities.  There is no underlying substance.”   Does “substance” in this last sentence mean “matter?”  Are we talking “mind only” school here?  And, “every change is absolutely a new one …” does this mean that Buddhism does not believe in the barriers that keep changes from happening in random ways?

Answer: Buddhism has a problem in its theory. If everything is changing at every moment, then how can you remember the change? Unless there is some unchanging experiencer, there is no one to observe the change

Question: I have a follow up question to this point. The question / challenge is this: Suppose you have three marbles – one red, one yellow, one blue. In the next frame of “time” you have a different set, but not ENTIRELY different: one red, one green, one blue. In the next frame again you have a different set, but not entirely different: one red, one green, one purple. In the next frame you again have a different set: one green, one purple, one orange. Etc.

Continuity is maintained from one frame to the next by the marbles which persist from one frame to the next. But still none of the marbles is permanent. If we take the Buddhist theory “nothing is eternal” in this manner, can you disprove it?

Answer: The flaw in the marble example is that the experiencer is never fragmanted like that. You cannot change a part of the experiencer. You as an experiencer are indivisible. The knowledge is obtained by the indivisible experiencer at a point in time and it is he alone who can remember the experience.

For example, if you see a book on table, you say, ” I see a book”.  You do not say that one part of me sees the book and other part of me is ignorant of it. Whenever you know something , right or wrong, you know it as one unit of knower. There are no divisions in the knower. You never feel that one part of you knows and one part is ignorant, or one part of you remembers some experience but another part does not. You either know or remember something or you do not. But this would not be the case of if “I or knower” was made of parts, as in case of your marble example.

If the experiencer changes, one cannot remember the experience. The instrument of experience may change, but not the knower. For example, we may use glasses to see and then we may replace the glasses with a new pair. We can remember what we saw with the old pair because we have not changed. Change is outside the knower.

 

Jiva Gosvami’s Sandarbhas

Sri Jiva Gosvami
Sri Jiva Gosvami

Question  1):  I am highly appreciating the depth of your work on the Sandarbhas and very much honoring Sri Jiva for his organization of the Bhagavat Siddhanta.  Thank you so much for this offering.  A few quick questions:

You speak of merging the buddhi into the ksetrajna, ‘the witness,’ and then merging the ksetrajna into the self, or atman (and then this self into the Supreme Self).  I thought the ksetrajna WAS the atman, as in the Gita, Mahabharata and other Samkhya texts. If it is not, then what other intermediate self is there between the buddhi and the atman, and why is this not mentioned in this way elsewhere?

Answer:  Ksetrjna is the conditioned soul with upadhi. Atman is the pure soul, free of upadhi. Ksetrajna is the witness. All knowledge or experience happens in the vrittis. So witnessing is a vritti. It seems strange that this distinction between ksetrajna and atman is made, but this is done to make the point very clear. The soul per se does nothing but gives consciousness to the body.

Question 2) Also, how does the prakritic buddhi ‘merge’ into the ksetrajna/atman? How can prakriti merge into Brahman?  Both are eternal and never come into being or cease to be.  Besides, they are differents sorts of stuff.

Answer: Merging does not mean getting lost or changing its svarupa. It means becoming ineffective or unmanifest. Just remember satkaryavada. No question of anything coming to an end. All it means that buddhi does not influence anymore.

Question 3)  Following on the last point,  is our siddhanta actually that prakriti can be transformed into Brahman?  Is that what happens in mantra?  Does Isvara enter into mantra, or does he transform the prakrit syllables of the vacaka into himself?  Put differently, does entity A enter into entity B, or is B transformed into A?  Or were B and A always the same, in which case how to understand the prakritic dimension of mantra audible to the akasha in the physical ear? After all, the gross senses cannot perceive Brahman, otherwise our eyes could see the atman in the first place.  And if B is transformed into A, then does that not violate the jnanaposition that Brahman is neither created, nor does it cease to be, and likewise, the Samkhya position with regards to prakriti’s eternality too? Is this question relegated to acintya-ness which abandons claims to have a philosophical position on this particular question?

Answer: No, prakriti is not transformed into Brahman. In case of mantra, the syllables are pronounced with the tongue or thought of in the mind, but according to the purity of the chanter and the grace of the Lord, the spiritual potency becomes manifest in it. Atah sri-krsna-nAmAdi na bhaved grAhyam indriyaih/ sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayameava sphurati adah [The transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Sri Krsna cannot be understood through the materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord, are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed] So, although it appears to be generated by the tongue,  it is self-manifest. It is akin to the Purva-mimasa theory which considers words to be eternal.

It is a mixture of two types of energies. In the beginning stage, we do not feel the spiritual energy, but only our effort in chanting. But really speaking, two energies are fudged or one is superimposed onto the other. As one advances, one will feel the spiritual side more and more. At a pure level, one will feel the complete spirtual potency working, even though he will use his tongue to chant. This is the mystical part in the mantra. Yes, it is acintya, but has an explanation.

It is like Krsna taking birth. He appears to take birth like an ordinary baby, but it is a totally different phenomenon. When Lord Krsna comes on earth, He is dealing only with His internal potency, but He appears to be like other human beings. The material energy follows His spiritual energy. The two seem to be fudged together. That is why He says, avajAnanti mAm mudhA manusim tanum Asritam [Not knowing My supreme existence, fools deride Me, Who have appeared in the human form, and Who is the great Lord of all beings]. But when He performs acts like lifting Govardhan or bewliderin Brahma, the material energy is unable to follow the spiritual energy.  So then is bhagavattA becomes apparent. It is not hidden anymore. Something similar happens in case of mantra chanting.

Question 4)  In our sampradaya, we find statements  about atman having iccha [desiring] shakti , kartritva [acting] shakti and bhoktra [enjoying] shakti.  From where are these categories coming?  Wouldn’t this imply that iccha is also in the atman (Gita says katrtva and bhoktritva are?)  Then how does this fit with desire being in the mind, senses and buddhi of Gita chapter III?

Answer:  What is the meaning to kartrtva and bhoktrtva without iccha shakti? Can you even imagine it?  It only means the potential, the actual iccha manifests only in the upadhi. The soul in the conditioned state only has the potential which becomes manifest in the upadhi. Therefore you will find both types of statements, i.e. that these three or mainly two are in the soul, as well as that they are in the upadhi. 

 

 

Prakriti and Purusha

Question: I have studied Sankhya very briefly as part of another course I took at the Hindu University.  But, I have been very interested in it ever since.  I have read about it and have learned some and been confused some.  Your lesson notes are very clear and helpful.  Of course, being from the Western mind-set and not knowing Sanskrit, I’m very challenged in this study. I have some questions regarding Lesson 12:

1. The lesson says:  “The appearance of an effect is only its passage from potentiality to actuality.  It needs some helping conditions (sahakari karana) and a sentient person (nimitta karana) to transform.  Is this suggesting that effects only happen when a sentient being is involved?  It seems that such changes occur without the intervention of sentient beings.  What am I missing?

Answer: According to Sankhya, change happens when prakriti and purusha (person) come together. Without purusha there is no modification in prakriti. So no change can occur without purusha who is sentient.

Question: 2. You describe change: “When any change is in a potential state it is called future, when the change is manifest it is called present, when it become latent again it is called past.  Sankhya does not admit the existence of time as an independent entity.”  I do not understand the second sentence.  Does this mean that time is not moving independently of the changes that are occurring?  In other words, if change stops, time does also?  “Time” is really just a way to talk about the constantly changing universe?

Answer: Time does not move, but we feel it by the change in prakriti. In Sankhya time is not an independent entity. It is the change in prakriti. If you do not perceive change you do not perceive time. That is why we can percieve time differently. In a happy situation time seems to pass quickly.  If you cannot sleep at night, times seems as if it is not passing. For our mutual dealings we have standardized time, not just depending on our feelings. As you know, the basis for time on earth is its movement in relation to the sun.

Question: 3. I do not understand what you say about Buddhism.  Buddhism holds to the theory of an ever changing universe.  “But their change has no background.  Every change is absolutely a new one.  And when the change is in the past, the next moment the change is lost absolutely.  There are only passing manifestations of forms and qualities.  There is no underlying substance.”   Does “substance” in this last sentence mean “matter?”  Are we talking “mind only” school here?  And, “evey change is absolutely a new one…” does this mean that Buddhism does not believe in the barriers that keep changes from happening in random ways?

Answer: Buddhism has problems in its theory. If everything is changing every moment then how can you remember the change? Unless there is some unchanging experiencer, there is noone to observe the change.