Yoga Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana Pose

One creates the conceptual knowledge of the Self in the not-self with the help of the experience of the Self identified with the physical body, or identified with the vital breath, or with intellectual knowledge, or with the expanse of sky, etc. Just as ignorant women or ill-educated farmers consider their physical bodies as the Self and as a consequence have the experience I am lean, I am fat, I am beautiful, or I am a scholar, and so on, so persons with limited vision wrongly consider all such experiences as the experience of their Self. The physical body is dissolved here in this world after death; how then can it be regarded as the real Self? In the same way, those who regard the vital air to be their real Self on the basis of experiencing that they are hungry, thirsty, etc. are also mistaken, though they consider themselves wiser than the former. Since the physical body and the vital airs are also material in nature like a lump of earth, how can these be regarded as the Self? Likewise, there are those who experience pleasure or pain articulated by them in expressions such as I am happy or 1 am unhappy, and who consider embodied consciousness to be their Self.

Such persons, for example the Mlmamsakas, consider themselves wiser than those who Yoga Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana Pose regard the vital air to be the Self. But since the experiences of pleasure or pain are the characteristics or the traits of the intellect buddhi comprised of sattva, rajas, and tamas, how can the intellect, possessing such characteristics, be regarded as the Self? Therefore, the Sunyavadins hold the Self to be that in which there is a total absence of any such conceptual knowledge as the experience of the Self identified with the physical body, vital airs, intellect, etc. They therefore argue that whatever thing is experienced as this cannot be regarded as the Self. The Self is unknowable and as such is indescribable smui? or void. In other words, it intrinsically has the nature of negation.

This void is what is indicated in the verse by the word sky. During the state of trance, the spiritual adept cognises negation or the void as the object of his knowledge. But since the cognisor’s Self cannot be an object of knowledge the spiritual adept on reflection has the experience I am not even this negation or void. In this way, another kind of void has to be admitted as the Self. Therefore the Brahmavadins regard the void as the Self only after giving up any particular kind of void in their descriptions of the real Self, using such expressions as not this, not this.

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