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Questions & Answers about Module 1: Yoga Exercises for a Healthier Lifestyle - Yoga inner thigh flexibility

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  • Jones Hanungu Munang'andu Zambia Ethics Because the self is not truly an agent acting in the world, neither merit nor demerit, arising from one's actions, attaches to the self. Morality has empirical significance. In the long run, what really matters is knowledge. Nonattached performance of one's duties is an aid toward purifying intelligence so that it may be conducive to the attainment of knowledge: hence the importance of the restraints and observances laid down in the Yoga-sūtras. The greatest good is freedom—i.e., aloofness (kaivalya) from matter. Rāja Yoga and Haṭha Yoga Though Patañjali's yoga is known as Rāja Yoga (that in which one attains to self-rule), Haṭha Yoga (haṭha = “violence,” “violent effort”: ha = “sun,” ṭha = “moon,” haṭha = “sun and moon,” breaths, or breaths travelling through the right and left nostrils) emphasizes bodily postures, regulation of breathing, and cleansing processes as means to spiritual perfection. A basic text on Haṭha Yoga is the Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā (“Light on the Haṭha Yoga”; c. 15th century). As to the relation between the two yogas, a well-known maxim lays down that “No rāja without haṭha, and no haṭha without rāja.” Religious consequences The one religious consequence of the Sāṃkhya-Yoga is an emphasis on austere asceticism and a turning away from the ritualistic elements of Hinduism deriving from the Brahmanical sources. Though they continue to remain as an integral part of the Hindu faith, no major religious order thrived on the basis of these philosophies. Vedānta Fragments from the Māṇḍukya-kārikā until Śaṅkara No commentary on the Vedānta-sūtras survives from the period before Śaṅkara, though both Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja referred to the vṛttis by Bodhāyana and Upavarṣa (the two may indeed be the same person). There are, however, pre-Śaṅkara monistic interpreters of the scriptures, three of whom are important: Bhartṛhari, Maṇḍana (both mentioned earlier), and Gauḍapāda. Śaṅkara referred to Gauḍapāda as the teacher of his own teacher Govinda, complimented him for having recovered the advaita (nondualism) doctrine from the Vedas, and also wrote a bhāṣya on Gauḍapāda's main work: the kārikās on Māṇḍukya Upaniṣad. Gauḍapāẖa's kārikās are divided into four parts: the first part is an explanation of the Upaniṣad itself, the second part establishes the unreality of the world, the third part defends the oneness of reality, and the fourth part, called Alātaṣānti (“Extinction of the Burning Coal”), deals with the state of release from suffering. It is not accidental that Gauḍapāda used as the title of the fourth part of his work a phrase in common usage among Buddhist authors. His philosophical views show a considerable influence of Mādhyamika Buddhism, particularly of the Yogācāra school, and one of his main purposes probably was to demonstrate that the teachings of the Upaniṣads are compatible with the main doctrines of the Buddhist idealists. Among his principal philosophical theses were the following: All things are as unreal as those seen in a dream, for waking experience and dream are on a par in this regard. In reality, there is no production and no destruction. His criticisms of the categories of change and causality are reminiscent of Nāgārjuna's. Duality is imposed on this one reality by māyā, or the power of illusion-producing ignorance. Because there is no real coming into being, Gauḍapāda's philosophy is often called ajātivāda (“discourse on the unborn”). Though thus far agreeing with the Buddhist Yogācārins, Gauḍapāẖa rejected their thesis that citta, or mind, is real and that there is a real flow of mental conception. Śaṅkara greatly moderated Gauḍapāda's extreme illusionistic theory. Though he regarded the phenomenal world as a false appearance, he never made use of the analogy of dream. Rather, he contrasted the objectivity of the world with the subjectivity of dreams and hallucinations. The distinction between the empirical and the illusory—both being opposed to the transcendental—is central to his way of thinking. Varieties of Vedānta schools Though Vedānta is frequently referred to as one darśana (viewpoint), there are, in fact, radically different schools of Vedānta; what binds them together is common adherence to a common set of texts. These texts are the Upaniṣads, the Vedānta-sūtras, and the Bhagavadgītā—known as the three prasthānas (the basic scriptures, or texts) of the Vedānta. The founders of the various schools of Vedānta have all substantiated their positions by commenting on these three source books. The problems and issues around which their differences centre are the nature of Brahman; the status of the phenomenal world; the relation of finite individuals to the Brahman; and the nature and the means to mokṣa, or liberation. The main schools are: Śaṅkara's unqualified nondualism (śuddhādvaita); Rāmānuja's qualified nondualism (viśiṣṭādvaita), Madhva's dualism (dvaita); Bhāskara's doctrine of identity and difference (bhedābheda); and the schools of Nimbārka and Vallabha, which assert both identity and difference though with different emphasis on either of the two aspects. From the religious point of view, Śaṅkara extolled metaphysical knowledge as the sole means to liberation and regarded even the concept of God as false; Rāmānuja recommended the path of bhakti combined with knowledge and showed a more tolerant attitude toward the tradition of Vedic ritualism; and Madhva, Nimbārka, and Vallabha all propounded a personalistic theism in which love and devotion to a personal God are rated highest. Although Śaṅkara's influence on Indian philosophy could not be matched by these other schools of Vedānta, in actual religious life the theistic Vedānta schools have exercised a much greater influence than the abstract metaphysics of Śaṅkara. The concepts of nondualism Śaṅkara's philosophy is one among a number of other nondualistic philosophies: Bhartṛhari's śabẖādvaita, the Buddhist's vijñānadvaita, and Gauḍapāẖa's ajātivada. Śaṅkara's system may then be called ātmāẖvaita—the thesis that the one, universal, eternal, and self-illuminating self whose essence is pure consciousness without a subject (āśraya) and without an object (viṣaya) from a transcendental point of view alone is real. The phenomenal world and finite individuals, though empirically real, are—from the higher point of view—merely false appearances. In substantiating this thesis Śaṅkara relied as much on the interpretation of scriptural texts as on reasoning. He set down a methodological principle that reason should be used only to justify truths revealed in the scriptures. His own use of reasoning was primarily negative; he showed great logical skill in refuting his opponents' theories. Śaṅkara's followers, however, supplied what is missed in his works—i.e., a positive rational support for his thesis. Śaṅkara's metaphysics is based on a criterion of reality, which may be briefly formulated as follows: the real is that whose negation is not possible. It is then argued that the only thing that satisfies this criterion is consciousness, because denial of consciousness presupposes the consciousness that denies. It is conceivable that any object is not existent, but the absence of consciousness is not conceivable. Negation may be either mutual negation (of difference) or absence. The latter is either absence of a thing prior to its origination or after its destruction or absence of a thing in a place other than where it is present. If the negation of consciousness is not conceivable, then none of these various kinds of negations can be predicated of consciousness. If difference cannot be predicated of it, then consciousness is the only reality and anything different from it would be unreal. If the other three kinds of absence are not predicable of it, then consciousness should be beginningless, without end, and ubiquitous. Consequently, it would be without change. Furthermore, consciousness is self-intimating; all objects depend upon consciousness for their manifestation. Difference may be either among members of the same class or of one individual from another of a different class or among parts of one entity. None of these is true of consciousness. In other words, there are not many consciousnesses; the plurality of many centres of consciousness should be viewed as an appearance. There is no reality other than consciousness—i.e., no real prakṛti; such a thing would only be an unreal other. Also, consciousness does not have internal parts; there are not many conscious states. The distinction between consciousness of blue and consciousness of yellow is not a distinction within consciousness but one superimposed on it by a distinction among its objects, blue and yellow. With this, the Sāṃkhya, Vijñānavādin Buddhist, and Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika pluralism are refuted. Reality is one, infinite, eternal, and self-shining spirit; it is without any determination, for all determination is negation.
    2014-04-02 13:04:17

  • Jones Hanungu Munang'andu Zambia Varieties of Vedānta schools Though Vedānta is frequently referred to as one darśana (viewpoint), there are, in fact, radically different schools of Vedānta; what binds them together is common adherence to a common set of texts. These texts are the Upaniṣads, the Vedānta-sūtras, and the Bhagavadgītā—known as the three prasthānas (the basic scriptures, or texts) of the Vedānta. The founders of the various schools of Vedānta have all substantiated their positions by commenting on these three source books. The problems and issues around which their differences centre are the nature of Brahman; the status of the phenomenal world; the relation of finite individuals to the Brahman; and the nature and the means to mokṣa, or liberation. The main schools are: Śaṅkara's unqualified nondualism (śuddhādvaita); Rāmānuja's qualified nondualism (viśiṣṭādvaita), Madhva's dualism (dvaita); Bhāskara's doctrine of identity and difference (bhedābheda); and the schools of Nimbārka and Vallabha, which assert both identity and difference though with different emphasis on either of the two aspects. From the religious point of view, Śaṅkara extolled metaphysical knowledge as the sole means to liberation and regarded even the concept of God as false; Rāmānuja recommended the path of bhakti combined with knowledge and showed a more tolerant attitude toward the tradition of Vedic ritualism; and Madhva, Nimbārka, and Vallabha all propounded a personalistic theism in which love and devotion to a personal God are rated highest. Although Śaṅkara's influence on Indian philosophy could not be matched by these other schools of Vedānta, in actual religious life the theistic Vedānta schools have exercised a much greater influence than the abstract metaphysics of Śaṅkara. The concepts of nondualism Śaṅkara's philosophy is one among a number of other nondualistic philosophies: Bhartṛhari's śabẖādvaita, the Buddhist's vijñānadvaita, and Gauḍapāẖa's ajātivada. Śaṅkara's system may then be called ātmāẖvaita—the thesis that the one, universal, eternal, and self-illuminating self whose essence is pure consciousness without a subject (āśraya) and without an object (viṣaya) from a transcendental point of view alone is real. The phenomenal world and finite individuals, though empirically real, are—from the higher point of view—merely false appearances. In substantiating this thesis Śaṅkara relied as much on the interpretation of scriptural texts as on reasoning. He set down a methodological principle that reason should be used only to justify truths revealed in the scriptures. His own use of reasoning was primarily negative; he showed great logical skill in refuting his opponents' theories. Śaṅkara's followers, however, supplied what is missed in his works—i.e., a positive rational support for his thesis. Śaṅkara's metaphysics is based on a criterion of reality, which may be briefly formulated as follows: the real is that whose negation is not possible. It is then argued that the only thing that satisfies this criterion is consciousness, because denial of consciousness presupposes the consciousness that denies. It is conceivable that any object is not existent, but the absence of consciousness is not conceivable. Negation may be either mutual negation (of difference) or absence. The latter is either absence of a thing prior to its origination or after its destruction or absence of a thing in a place other than where it is present. If the negation of consciousness is not conceivable, then none of these various kinds of negations can be predicated of consciousness. If difference cannot be predicated of it, then consciousness is the only reality and anything different from it would be unreal. If the other three kinds of absence are not predicable of it, then consciousness should be beginningless, without end, and ubiquitous. Consequently, it would be without change. Furthermore, consciousness is self-intimating; all objects depend upon consciousness for their manifestation. Difference may be either among members of the same class or of one individual from another of a different class or among parts of one entity. None of these is true of consciousness. In other words, there are not many consciousnesses; the plurality of many centres of consciousness should be viewed as an appearance. There is no reality other than consciousness—i.e., no real prakṛti; such a thing would only be an unreal other. Also, consciousness does not have internal parts; there are not many conscious states. The distinction between consciousness of blue and consciousness of yellow is not a distinction within consciousness but one superimposed on it by a distinction among its objects, blue and yellow. With this, the Sāṃkhya, Vijñānavādin Buddhist, and Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika pluralism are refuted. Reality is one, infinite, eternal, and self-shining spirit; it is without any determination, for all determination is negation.
    2014-04-02 13:04:04

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