In the last few decades, mankind has been faced with tremendous problems on physical, psychological and social planes. People tried method after method in search of some solution, but ultimately they came to this conclusion. If only mankind could defreeze the whole process of existence and mind, one would know exactly where the pebble fell on the water. This process of defreezing the entire consciousness, the whole existence including past, present and future – is yoga. It is only by this process that man will know where the pebble fell. Then he can successfully work out the solution to his problems.
We should understand yoga in relation to our personal evolution. Today scientists have proved that the science of yoga has great depth. It is not intellectual, it is basic and fundamental.
Is this mind a final state of evolution? Is there no other area of consciousness that could function better and make more tangible decisions? Why not step out of the frontiers of mind? How is one going to develop the structure of consciousness? Can consciousness only be developed by religion or intellectual means, or is it possible that man could transcend the limiting barriers of this personality by an independent method?
Science has an answer for this. Science has investigated the possibility of developing those silent areas of mind and brain. Those silent areas relate to the evolution of kundalini, to the evolution of a dynamic pattern of human consciousness and do not merely depend on the knowledge derived by sensory channels.
All along we have been taught that the brain can be trained via the medium of the senses, through the perceptions available and intelligible to the senses. Yoga has a completely different theory altogether. Isolate the brain, isolate the consciousness and disconnect the pathways of sensory stimulation. The brain, mind and consciousness can function independently of sensory existence.
Now our knowledge depends on the information we get through the senses. Our perception, cognition and decisions depend upon the area of sensory channels. But if we could isolate the brain, consciousness and mind, we would enter into a very dynamic and powerful state of understanding and realization. This is the point where yoga begins in life.
This yogic theory is based on the scientific principles of today. There are hundreds and thousands of archetypal patterns in the brain. They are primitive and basic, and exist in human beings, animals and the vegetable kingdom. These millions of archetypes have to be tamed and recognized so that they have a positive and awakening influence on all of our actions, thoughts, decisions, feelings and our awareness as a whole.
In yoga, these archetypes in the brain are known as mandalas. They are of particular geometric patterns and there is a definite possibility of reorganizing them. By understanding and organizing these geometric mandalas which are in the constitution of the mind, languages can be easily learned, behaviour can be transformed, culture can be reconstituted, civilization can be given a new turn of action.
Man has long been trying to transform his life. He has been trying to create a state of metamorphosis in his personality but he has failed. The answer lies in the yogic practices and their influence on the patterns of the brain.
Pranayama is not just the science of breath. The practice of pranayama has a direct link, a direct effect on the most intricate and sophisticated functioning of the brain. Pranayama is the science of universal energy, universal mind, universal time, space and matter. That is the literal meaning of pranayama. Maybe in a few years the books on pranayama will be called ‘The Science of Life Force’. It is not the air you breathe that constitutes pranayama, it is the vital, universal pranic energy which is present in man, which you will have to dynamize and redistribute. That is the science of pranayama.
Similarly, the yogasanas are not physical exercises and they do not work on the human body as physical exercises do. The impact of yoga postures on the human body is through a balance created in the nervous system, in the endocrine glands, and particularly in maintaining balance in the level of energy.
In yoga we do not consider the body as a bundle of gross matter, a composition of blood, bone, marrow, flesh and mucus. We have to revisualize the structure of the body, and realize it as the different patterns of energy coming together in a composite form. This physical body is a storehouse of vital and mental energy – prana and thought.
Energy is operating in two main areas. One area of energy is the mind. A thought is therefore not a psychological substance. An experience is not a psychological point. An emotion is not a psychological event. Thought, emotion, memory, feeling, love, hatred, compassion, passion – these psychological behaviours are points of energy. The other area of energy is prana – the life, mobility and existence of the physical body.
These are the two active areas of energy recognized in the science of yoga which control all the mental and life functions. Besides these two, yoga recognizes a third area of spiritual energy which is dormant in man’s present existence with the exception of a few people. This third area controls all the higher functions of man.
Man should try to awaken this third area of energy. With its awakening, man will be able to transcend the frontiers of his limited existence. When this third area of energy explodes, time and space will come close and join matter. I am talking about physics and yoga together. Time, space and matter will have to come together if a new evolution is to start in man’s life. Therefore, the postures that are related to yoga have a long story to tell us as to how the level of metamorphosis has been taking place in the level of man’s consciousness during the last few million years.
The individual mind is a concept, a hypothesis – there is no individual mind. Surely, the lights are burning in this hall, and the mike is functioning, but they are only a manifestation of electrical energy. They are not independent. In the same way, the individual mind is nothing but the universal mind. This universal mind is not a philosophical concept. It is something which we know. It is something which we can handle. It is something within the reach of our human understanding and imagination. It is absolute existence. The practices of yoga develop the whole area of perception in this way. This is the fundamental basis of yogic philosophy.
Over the years I have traveled far and studied the history of yoga in museums, cultures, scriptures and in people. I have only two things in my mind: yoga, and the evolution of man. The quality of man’s mind and body must change. He must go through a process of metamorphosis. There is no point in remaining where we are. We must all begin to set the process of evolution into action by practising yoga.
Throughout history man has made many errors, but a solution has always appeared. We can never say that we have not made errors and that we are not making them now. Man lives by mistakes, and that is how he progresses. In this century we are faced with our mistakes and we are confronted with a decision. We are at the crossroads and we have to decide which way we are going to go. Will we continue along the same route, or will we take a new direction? Will we put an end to our problems or will we go on endlessly creating more and more?
I have made the decision to live in this world and re-establish the system of yoga with all sincerity and honesty.
—YOGA, Vol. 18, No. 2, February 1980